The Lost Drum: The Myth of Sexuality in Papua New Guinea and Beyond

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1995 - Social Science - 199 pages
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"The Lost Drum" is both a theoretical experiment in anthropology and a provocative analysis of myth and ritual in Papua New Guinea societies. James F. Weiner offers the first comprehensive attempt to fashion an anthropological method from the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan and extends his own previous work on Melanesian sociality and language.
Applying literary, psychoanalytic, and hermeneutic theories to myths of the Foi, Marind-anim, Yafar, and Gimi peoples, Weiner shows how mythic narratives reveal the productive and consumptive processes that compose the New Guinea person and body. He uncovers a discourse on sexuality, consumption, voice, and subjectivity that both challenges the neo-Freudian paradigm that has dominated psychological anthropology and disputes the reciprocity and exchange models of social integration that have characterized descriptions of Melanesian society.
Expanding upon Roy Wagner's theory of symbolic obviation, Weiner argues against constructionist readings of text: "myth does not represent social reality but only models a specific way of making it visible." In" The Lost Drum," he traces the route of certain objects--the string bag, the drum, the bullroarer, the flute-as their meanings unfold in the mythical narratives of Papua New Guinea. In so doing, he illuminates the instability of social and sexual identities in Melanesia.

 

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Contents

Chapter
3
Figures
6
Notes 185
20
Obviation triangle
39
Obviation of The Hornbill Husband
46
Obviation of The First Married Couple
48
Inversion of plot in The Hornbill Husband
49
Obviation and inversion in The Origin of Flowers and Crotons
66
Home of Value
139
The Ambassadors Hans Holbein
140
Marind headhunting display
141
Hayam club of the Marindanim
142
The Madonna and St Anne Leonardo da Vinci
143
The Madonna of Port Lligat Salvador Dali
144
A New Guinea drumman
145
Foi womans string bag go magini with pandanus leaf childs mat inside
146

Obviation of ritual cycle of the Marindanim
91
The inverted bouquet
125

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About the author (1995)

James F. Weiner is a lecturer in the Department of Prehistory and Anthropology at the Australian National University, Canberra.

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