This wide-ranging volume captures the diverse range of societies and experiences that form what has come to be known as Melanesia. It covers prehistoric, historic and contemporary issues, and includes work by art historians, political scientists, geographers and anthropologists. The chapters range from studies of subsistence, ritual and ceremonial exchange to accounts of state violence, new media and climate change. The ‘Melanesian world’ assembled here raises questions that cut to the heart of debates in the human sciences today, with profound implications for the ways in which scholars across disciplines can describe and understand human difference. This impressive collection of essays represents a valuable resource for scholars and students alike.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: the challenge of Melanesia PART ONE: HISTORICAL CONTEXT 2. The archaeology of Melanesia 3. Melanesia: a region and a history 4. Missionaries in the Melanesian World PART TWO: GEOPOLITICAL, LINGUISTIC AND REGIONAL OVERVIEWS 5. Geo-Political Overview of Melanesia 6. Melanesia as a zone of language diversity 7. Regional Overview: From Diversity to Multiple Singularities PART THREE: ECONOMY AND LIVELIHOOD 8. Subsistence food production in Melanesia 9. Class, Labour, and Consumption in Urban Melanesia 10. Money Schemes in Contemporary Melanesia 11. Cash Crops and Markets 12. Searching for Melanesian Urbanity PART FOUR: GOVERNMENT, POLITICS AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS 13. Sovereignty, Civil Conflict and Ethnicity 14. Local Government and Politics: Forms and Aspects of Authority 15. Security Governance in Melanesia - Police, Prisons and Crime 16. Gender Relations and Human Rights in Melanesia 17. Health, Institutions and Governance in Melanesia 18. Owning the Law in Melanesia PART FIVE: RELIGION, CHURCH, RITUAL AND EXCHANGE PRACTICES 19. ‘Witchcraft’ and ‘Sorcery’ in Melanesia 20. Charismatic Churches, Revivalism and New Religious Movements 21. Cargo Cult Post Mortem 22. Big men, ceremonial exchange and lifecycle events 23. Interpreting initiation in Melanesia: Past and present PART SIX: ART, MATERIAL CULTURE AND CULTURAL HERITAGE 24. Museums and Cultural Centres in Melanesia: a series of experiments 25. Creation and Destruction in Melanesian Material Culture 26. Contemporary Art in Melanesia. From Grass Roots to National Identity? 27. Melanesian worlds of music and dance 28. The Melanesian World of Paradise Tourism: Reflections on time, travel and cultural performance PART SEVEN: DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCES 29. Places and Paths in Melanesian Landscapes 30. Extractive Industries in Melanesia 31. Climate Change in the Islands and the Highlands: Melanesian Manifestations, Experiences and Actions 32. Western conservation in Melanesia: Biodiversity conservation for whom, by whom, and according to whom? 33. New Media, New Melanesia? Afterword
Eric Hirsch is a Reader in Anthropology at Brunel University London, UK. He has a long-standing interest in the ethnography and history of Papua New Guinea.
Will Rollason is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Brunel University London, UK. His research to date has focused on Papua New Guinea and Rwanda.
"The most important and comprehensive reference published on this region in years, perfect for general orientation. Summing Up: Highly Recommended" - R. Scaglion in CHOICE
"This is the remarkable kind of book that, if we’re lucky, comes around once in a generation and lays a whole new foundation for a venerable field of study. Creative in conception and comprehensive in coverage, this is now the first place to turn to for orientation in the study of Melanesia."
Joel Robbins, University of Cambridge, UK
"A marvellously eclectic, yet thoroughly comprehensive and readable collection, offering an invaluable source on past and present Melanesia. Its diverse chapters represent a valuable collection of interdisciplinary approaches that distil the wisdom, insights and collective expertise of the best scholars on this exciting region, as they trace the evolving and challenging relationships between land, people, culture and ideology."
John Connell, University of Sydney, Australia
"The Melanesian World is a real smorgasbord of enticing and distinctive perspectives on what it means to be Melanesian. The chapters range from up-to-date pieces of reference to thought provoking interventions. This makes the work unique and equally useful to those looking for detailed information about the region as much as those seeking theoretical inspiration for the study of human diversity."
Ton Otto, Aarhus University, Denmark
"The Melanesian World is encyclopaedic, cultural, historical, contemporary and reflective. It has been several decades since such an important book on Melanesia has been published."
Clive Moore, University of Queensland, Australia