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History And Tradition In Melanesian Anthropology
by James G. Carrier
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Melanesian societies, like village societies in many parts of the world, are frequently portrayed as existing in a timeless, traditional present. These seven original essays offer an alternative view, one showing that historical evidence can and must inform our understanding of contemporary cultures.
This collection brings together anthropologists and historians who maintain that the "timeless-traditionalism" approach of anthropology is inadequate. Life in the existing societies of Melanesia cannot be understood, they say, without examining how these societies are shaped by Western influences. The historical perspective that acknowledges ongoing political, economic, and social change results in less stereotypical descriptions of these traditional cultures. Historians and anthropologists of Melanesia and the Pacific will find here original and enlightening work that is sure to influence the theoretical orientation of Melanesian anthropology.
About the Author
James G. Carrier is the author, with Achsah H. Carrier, of Wage, Trade, and Exchange in Melanesia (California, 1989) and of Structure and Process in a Melanesian Society (1991).
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