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Faingu City: A modern Mekeo Clan in Papua New Guinea

Bergendorff, Steen (1996) In Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology 2.
Abstract
The thesis is about the historical transformation of Mekeo society. lt is not about the Mekeo as cultural group but about Mekeo society as part of a larger Papuan world of social reproduction. The analysis is anchored in the study of the regional exhange systems which it traces, temporally, through the different historical circumstances influencing the Mekeo area



First the pre-colonial regional system is reconstructed with the help of a wide range of historical material including early missionary sources, governmental reports and ethnographic studies. The configuration of the regional system is then analysed in relation to the social order of Mekeo society. It is shown how marriage strategies, alliances between clans,... (More)
The thesis is about the historical transformation of Mekeo society. lt is not about the Mekeo as cultural group but about Mekeo society as part of a larger Papuan world of social reproduction. The analysis is anchored in the study of the regional exhange systems which it traces, temporally, through the different historical circumstances influencing the Mekeo area



First the pre-colonial regional system is reconstructed with the help of a wide range of historical material including early missionary sources, governmental reports and ethnographic studies. The configuration of the regional system is then analysed in relation to the social order of Mekeo society. It is shown how marriage strategies, alliances between clans, and the institutional order are integrated to and formed in mutural interaction with the conditions found in the larger system of reproduction. The focus is on political strategies, and not cultural essence. The conditions found in the sphere of reproduction are then analysed in relation to social organisation, the formation of clans, exchange between clans, and the structure of myth. This is taken up in the last part of the thesis and discussed in connection to the transformation of the social order.



The next part of the thesis is concerned with the colonial encounter. This part shows how pacification and the missionary penetration changed the reproductive conditions of Mekeo society. As a result of the intrusion of government and church, the society was profoundly transformed. The government made the chiefs local representatives in the colonial order, while the local sorcerers made a pact with the mission. Thus, the institutional order changed from a fourfold structure with chiefs, sorcerers, war-chiefs, and war-magicians to threefold structure of government, chiefs and church, sorcerers relegating the war-chief and war-magicians to honorary titles.



The second part of the thesis analyses the integration of the Mekeo village into the new monetary market economy of Port Moresby. The Mekeo have a virtual monopoly of the betelnut trade to the capital and earn a substantial income from this. Contrary to usual assumption the integration into the market economy has made village life flourish. It has also changed, again, the configuration of the institutional order. This is an ongoing process spurred, on by political struggle in the villages.



In this part of the study it is shown how myth is a political instrument in the ongoing clan struggles and very transformation of the clan structure. The new transformation is toward a simpler organization and is reflected in the stories told by villagers. Noah's Ark, the Virgin Mary and America are important factors in the new economic landscape. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • unknown], [unknown
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Cultural anthropology, ethnology, Kulturantropologi, History, Structure, Exchange, Mekeo, Regional System, Kinship, Clan, Modernity, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, etnologi
in
Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology
volume
2
pages
288 pages
publisher
Lund University Press
defense location
Edens hörsal, (E 116), Lunds Universitet
defense date
1996-03-30 11:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUSADG/SAAN-96/1002-se
ISSN
1101-9948
ISBN
91-7966-360-5
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
b0d0a282-146b-4b69-816d-b3f476b83001 (old id 17581)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 09:55:04
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:52
@phdthesis{b0d0a282-146b-4b69-816d-b3f476b83001,
  abstract     = {The thesis is about the historical transformation of Mekeo society. lt is not about the Mekeo as cultural group but about Mekeo society as part of a larger Papuan world of social reproduction. The analysis is anchored in the study of the regional exhange systems which it traces, temporally, through the different historical circumstances influencing the Mekeo area<br/><br>
<br/><br>
First the pre-colonial regional system is reconstructed with the help of a wide range of historical material including early missionary sources, governmental reports and ethnographic studies. The configuration of the regional system is then analysed in relation to the social order of Mekeo society. It is shown how marriage strategies, alliances between clans, and the institutional order are integrated to and formed in mutural interaction with the conditions found in the larger system of reproduction. The focus is on political strategies, and not cultural essence. The conditions found in the sphere of reproduction are then analysed in relation to social organisation, the formation of clans, exchange between clans, and the structure of myth. This is taken up in the last part of the thesis and discussed in connection to the transformation of the social order.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The next part of the thesis is concerned with the colonial encounter. This part shows how pacification and the missionary penetration changed the reproductive conditions of Mekeo society. As a result of the intrusion of government and church, the society was profoundly transformed. The government made the chiefs local representatives in the colonial order, while the local sorcerers made a pact with the mission. Thus, the institutional order changed from a fourfold structure with chiefs, sorcerers, war-chiefs, and war-magicians to threefold structure of government, chiefs and church, sorcerers relegating the war-chief and war-magicians to honorary titles.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The second part of the thesis analyses the integration of the Mekeo village into the new monetary market economy of Port Moresby. The Mekeo have a virtual monopoly of the betelnut trade to the capital and earn a substantial income from this. Contrary to usual assumption the integration into the market economy has made village life flourish. It has also changed, again, the configuration of the institutional order. This is an ongoing process spurred, on by political struggle in the villages.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In this part of the study it is shown how myth is a political instrument in the ongoing clan struggles and very transformation of the clan structure. The new transformation is toward a simpler organization and is reflected in the stories told by villagers. Noah's Ark, the Virgin Mary and America are important factors in the new economic landscape.},
  author       = {Bergendorff, Steen},
  isbn         = {91-7966-360-5},
  issn         = {1101-9948},
  keyword      = {Cultural anthropology,ethnology,Kulturantropologi,History,Structure,Exchange,Mekeo,Regional System,Kinship,Clan,Modernity,Melanesia,Papua New Guinea,etnologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {288},
  publisher    = {Lund University Press},
  series       = {Lund Monographs in Social Anthropology},
  title        = {Faingu City: A modern Mekeo Clan in Papua New Guinea},
  volume       = {2},
  year         = {1996},
}