Reverse Anthropology: Indigenous Analysis of Social and Environmental Relations in New Guinea

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Stanford University Press, 2006 - Social Science - 272 pages
While ethnography ordinarily privileges anthropological interpretations, this book attempts the reciprocal process of describing indigenous modes of analysis. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research with the Yonggom people of New Guinea, the author examines how indigenous analysis organizes local knowledge and provides a framework for interpreting events, from first contact and colonial rule to contemporary interactions with a multinational mining company and the Indonesian state.

This book highlights Yonggom participation in two political movements: an international campaign against the Ok Tedi mine, which is responsible for extensive deforestation and environmental problems, and the opposition to Indonesian control over West Papua, including Yonggom experiences as political refugees in Papua New Guinea. The author challenges a prevailing homogenization in current representations of indigenous peoples, showing how Yonggom modes of analysis specifically have shaped these political movements.

 

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Contents

Historical encounters
27
The enchantment of place
57
Unrequited reciprocity
79
Sorcery and the mine
107
Mythical encounters
132
Divining violence
158
Loss and the future imagined
189
Conclusion
216
References
243
Index
263
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About the author (2006)

Stuart Kirsch is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.

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