Gender, Christianity and Change in Vanuatu: An Analysis of Social Movements in North Ambrym, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gender, Christianity and Change in Vanuatu

An Analysis of Social Movements in North Ambrym, 1st Edition

By Annelin Eriksen


216 pages

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Hardback: 9780754672098
pub: 2007-12-28
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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.


'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

About the Author

Annelin Eriksen is Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Bergen, Norway.

About the Series

Anthropology and Cultural History in Asia and the Indo-Pacific

This series offers a comprehensive view of Asian and Indo-Pacific anthropology and cultural history. It carries studies from China, Japan, South-East Asia, South Asia, and the entire Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand. Focusing mainly on detailed ethnographic studies, the series further incorporates pressing thematic work on issues of cross-regional impact, gender and globalization, precarity, refugees, and asylum-seekers, and alternative medical and wellness-seeking practices. The series aims to link anthropological theory with history and religious studies, with discussions of ritual, politics, religious change, and economics. Studies of adaptation and conflict in small-scale situations enmeshed in wider scale processes of transformation form a particular thematic focus. The series aims to reach a core audience of specialists in Asian and Pacific studies, but also to be accessible and valuable to a broader multidisciplinary readership.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General