Focusing on cultural change and the socio-political movements in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, this book uses both anthropological and historical analysis to examine the way the relationship between gender and Christianity has shaped processes of social change. Based on extensive research conducted over several decades, it is one of the few books available to focus on Vanuatu and on the impact of Christianity in Melanesia more generally - as well as on the significance of gender relations in understanding these developments. Providing a model for understanding and comparing processes of change in small-scale societies, this fascinating book will appeal to scholars and students interested in the ethnography of Melanesia and in issues related to contemporary cultural change and gender more generally.
Table of Contents
Gender, Christianity and change. Kinship, place and movement. Origin routes: historical and contemporary relocations on Ambrym. Women on the move. The loud and the silent stories: female agency and mission history. Women, churches and communities. From churches to councils and cults. On council, development and leadership. The social dynamics of Ambrym in a comparative perspective.
Annelin Eriksen is Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Bergen, Norway.
'An elegantly conceptualized and closely argued ethnographic work, this strikingly innovative study of cultural change should have a wide audience not only among area specialists but also among those working on Christianity, gender, and cultural change in other regions as well, who will need to engage its strong arguments that invite comparative application.' Joel Robbins, University of California, USA ’Eriksen’s study broaches new ground in the understanding of the processes and the effects of Christian missionizing in the Pacific. She presents a wonderfully innovative understanding of the local apparatuses of capture whereby Vanuatans reinvent their realities in the context of globalizing forces. Ethnographically and theoretically this is a ground-breaking work.’ Bruce Kapferer, University of Bergen, Norway Eriksen’s book is theoretically wide-ranging and challenging. Her study utilizes the theme of movement, both social and intellectual. She clearly demonstrates the non-static nature of contemporary village life on the island of Ambrym with women, upon marriage, forming relational links between villages; and with both men and women moving between the island and the capital, Port Vila, for work and perhaps to settle there. She delineates the ways in which people have initiated cultural change, such as new forms of gift exchange on marriage, as well as new forms of communality. Above all, she stresses the way in which women have come to value themselves as individuals, and as members of a socially and economically important sector of Vanuatu society.' Island Studies Journal 'Annelin Eriksen's important book takes the reappraisal to a new level of sophistication by exploring the wider social and political implications of women's key involvement with christianity in Vanuatu...The book pnetrates the silence to provide a compelling analysis of women's roles in the social transformations unleashed by conversion. In doing so, it profoundly challenges given ass