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An Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia: Culture and Tradition (review)

An Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia: Culture and Tradition (review) book reviews 535 and a general overview of ideas about the region. Although Melanesian cul- tures were never static, he asserts that many modes of being can still be dis- cerned from the period before the rapid and dramatic changes produced through contemporary globalization. Consequently, his work documents the beliefs and practices that sustain kastom, not as an exercise in primitive essentialism but as part of contempo- rary peoples’ search for sociocultural identities in a rapidly changing lived environment. Unfortunately, because Sillitoe concentrates primarily on New Guinea, the text’s conceptual and geo- graphic reach is limited. The work would also have benefited from a broader ethnographic base that clari- fied the transformations taking place in both local communities and con- temporary anthropological thought. Sillitoe uses the notion of “ethno- graphic fact” coupled with a revision- ist critical perspective to shape the empirical evidence gathered by vari- ous anthropologists. Each chapter is presented in the “ethnographic pre- sent tense,” not to express timeless *** backwardness, but as a snapshot of An Introduction to the Anthropology the community at a particular histori- of Melanesia: Culture and Tradition, cal moment. The chapters are struc- by Paul Sillitoe. Cambridge: Cam- tured to examine http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

An Introduction to the Anthropology of Melanesia: Culture and Tradition (review)

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 12 (2) – Jul 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464

Abstract

book reviews 535 and a general overview of ideas about the region. Although Melanesian cul- tures were never static, he asserts that many modes of being can still be dis- cerned from the period before the rapid and dramatic changes produced through contemporary globalization. Consequently, his work documents the beliefs and practices that sustain kastom, not as an exercise in primitive essentialism but as part of contempo- rary peoples’ search for sociocultural identities in a rapidly changing lived environment. Unfortunately, because Sillitoe concentrates primarily on New Guinea, the text’s conceptual and geo- graphic reach is limited. The work would also have benefited from a broader ethnographic base that clari- fied the transformations taking place in both local communities and con- temporary anthropological thought. Sillitoe uses the notion of “ethno- graphic fact” coupled with a revision- ist critical perspective to shape the empirical evidence gathered by vari- ous anthropologists. Each chapter is presented in the “ethnographic pre- sent tense,” not to express timeless *** backwardness, but as a snapshot of An Introduction to the Anthropology the community at a particular histori- of Melanesia: Culture and Tradition, cal moment. The chapters are struc- by Paul Sillitoe. Cambridge: Cam- tured to examine

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 1, 2001

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