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On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation (review)

On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation (review) the contemporary pacific · 24:1 (2012) (xiv). The anxieties arise for modern Tongans from the challenges of being seen as "modern" while not being seen as turning one's back on "tradition": of constructing and enacting compromises that necessarily differ from one social context to another. For me, these tensions, anxieties, and ambiguities arise in sharpest relief in the chapter on pawnshops, where Tongans pawn koloa (highly valued traditional goods) for cash in order to participate in and consume modernity, before recovering the koloa to demonstrate that they continue to value and respect tradition. Those who are familiar with Besnier's work will recognize in this book familiar themes and material: chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 deal with marketplaces, pawnshops, transgender beauty pageants, and beauty salons, respectively. This material has appeared in journals since 2002, but here much of it is refined and developed. The book is, however, much more than the sum of its parts: it contains two very good introductory chapters that frame, theorize, and contextualize the larger issues lying behind the sites of modernity on which the ethnography focuses, and a concluding chapter that, while short, provides a succinct summary of Besnier's arguments. On the Edge http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation (review)

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 24 (1) – Feb 12, 2012

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464
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Abstract

the contemporary pacific · 24:1 (2012) (xiv). The anxieties arise for modern Tongans from the challenges of being seen as "modern" while not being seen as turning one's back on "tradition": of constructing and enacting compromises that necessarily differ from one social context to another. For me, these tensions, anxieties, and ambiguities arise in sharpest relief in the chapter on pawnshops, where Tongans pawn koloa (highly valued traditional goods) for cash in order to participate in and consume modernity, before recovering the koloa to demonstrate that they continue to value and respect tradition. Those who are familiar with Besnier's work will recognize in this book familiar themes and material: chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 deal with marketplaces, pawnshops, transgender beauty pageants, and beauty salons, respectively. This material has appeared in journals since 2002, but here much of it is refined and developed. The book is, however, much more than the sum of its parts: it contains two very good introductory chapters that frame, theorize, and contextualize the larger issues lying behind the sites of modernity on which the ethnography focuses, and a concluding chapter that, while short, provides a succinct summary of Besnier's arguments. On the Edge

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Feb 12, 2012

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