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Experiencing New Worlds

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Volume 1

Person, Space and Memory in the Contemporary Pacific

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Experiencing New Worlds

Edited by Jürg Wassmann and Katharina Stockhaus

352 pages, 40 ills, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-327-5 $135.00/£99.00 hb Published (November 2007)

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“After having read this collection, the reader has an inspired conception about the possibilities of the exciting and methodologically varied research field [of space cognition]. It is a special merit of this volume to bring together the different disciplines and to show the fundamental methodological possibilities and problems of the of the individual disciplines.”  ·  Zeitschrift für Ethnologie


The many different localities of the Pacific region have a long history of transformation, under both pre- and post-colonial conditions. More recently, rates of local transformation have increased tremendously under post-colonial regimes. The forces of globalization, which rapidly distribute commodities, images, and political and moral concepts across the region, have presented Pacific populations with an unprecedented need and opportunity to fashion new and expanded understandings of their cultural and individual identities.

This volume, the first in a new series, examines the forces of globalization at different levels, as they manifest themselves and operate across cultural, cognitive and biographical dimensions of human life in the Pacific. While posing familiar questions, it offers new answers through the integration of cultural and psychological methods. The contributors draw on practice theory, cognitive science and the anthropology of space and place while exploring the key analytical rubrics of human agency, memory and landscape.

Jürg Wassmann is Professor for Anthropology and Head of the Institute of Ethnology, University of Heidelberg. His field area is Papua New Guinea where he has carried out fieldwork among the Iatmul and the Yupno, and Bali, Indonesia. His publications include The Song to the Flying Fox (IPNGS 1991), Historical Atlas of Ethnic and Linguistic Groups in Papua New Guinea, Volume 3 (Wepf 1994), has edited Pacific Answers to Western Hegemony: Cultural Practices of Identity Construction (Berg 1998).

Katharina Stockhaus studied Languages and Cultures of Austronesia at the University of Hamburg and now is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Ethnology (University of Heidelberg) where she studies the life and work of indigenous Pacific authors and has taught courses on Maori Language, Pacific Migration in New Zealand and Pacific Literature.

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


List of Figures and Tables

Jürg Wassmann and Verena Keck


Chapter 1. The Methodological Interface of Psychology and Anthropology
Ramesh C. Mishra and Pierre R. Dasen

Chapter 2. Rethinking Tradition: Invention, Cultural Continuity and Agency
Ton Otto

Chapter 3. Intentionality of Action in Cultural Context
Gisela Trommsdorff

Chapter 4. Positioned Meaning in Personal Narrative
Stephen C. Leavitt

Chapter 5. Actors and Actions in ‘Exotic’ Places
Andrew Strathern and Pamela J. Stewart


Chapter 6. Power, Knowledge and the Organization of Space
Peter Meusburger

Chapter 7. On the Constitution of Space and the Construction of Places: Java’s Magic Axis
Werner Hennings

Chapter 8. Elementary Methodological Tools for a Recursive Approach to Human-Environmental Relations
Katja Neves-Graça

Chapter 9. Tempestuous Landscapes: Persons, Places and Memory in Two Vanuatu Hurricanes
Margaret C. Rodman

Chapter 10. The ‘Anthropology of Landscape’ as a Research Method
Susanne Kuehling


Chapter 11. Smell, Person, Space and Memory
Bettina Beer

Chapter 12. Memory Measurement
Edgar Erdfelder and Martin Brandt

Chapter 13. The Nijmegen Space Games: Studying the Interrelationship between Language, Culture and Cognition
Gunter Senft

Chapter 14. The Perception of Space from a Psychological Perspective
Joachim Funke

Chapter 15. Conducting Cognitive Tasks and Interpreting the Results: The Case of Spatial Inference Tasks
Thomas Widlok

Notes on the Contributors

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