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
List of figures
List of tables
List of contributors
Maps of the region and its language groups
1 Introduction: the challenge of Melanesia - Eric Hirsch and Will Rollason
PART I: HISTORICAL CONTEXT
2 The archaeology of Melanesia - Glenn Summerhayes
3 Melanesia: a region and a history - Max Quanchi
4 Missionaries in the Melanesian world - John Barker
PART II: GEO-POLITICAL, LINGUISTIC AND REGIONAL OVERVIEWS
5 Geo-political overview of Melanesia - Stewart Firth
6 Melanesia as a zone of language diversity - Alan Rumsey
7 Regional overview: from diversity to multiple singularities - Jaap Timmer
PART III: ECONOMY AND LIVELIHOOD
8 Subsistence food production in Melanesia - R.M. Bourke
9 Class, labour and consumption in urban Melanesia - Lorena Gibson
10 Money schemes in contemporary Melanesia - John Cox
11 Cash crops and markets - Timothy L.M. Sharp and Mark Busse
12 Searching for Melanesian urbanity - Michael Goddard
PART IV: GOVERNMENT, POLITICS AND PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
13 Sovereignty, civil conflict and ethnicity - Matthew G. Allen
14 Local government and politics: forms and aspects of authority - Steffen Dalsgaard
15 Security governance in Melanesia: police, prisons and crime - Sinclair Dinnen
16 Gender relations and human rights in Melanesia - Martha Macintyre
17 Health, institutions and governance in Melanesia - Alice Street
18 Owning the law in Melanesia - Melissa Demian and Benedicta Rousseau
PART V: RELIGION, CHURCH, RITUAL AND EXCHANGE PRACTICES
19 ‘Witchcraft’ and ‘sorcery’ in Melanesia - Knut Rio
20 Charismatic churches, revivalism and new religious movements - Annelin Eriksen and Michelle MacCarthy
21 Cargo cult post mortem - Lamont Lindstrom
22 Big men, ceremonial exchange and life-cycle events - Keir Martin
23 Interpreting initiation in Melanesia: past and present - Pascale Bonnemère
PART VI: ART, MATERIAL CULTURE AND CULTURAL HERITAGE
24 Museums and cultural centres in Melanesia: a series of experiments - Lissant Bolton
25 Creation and destruction in Melanesian material culture - Anna-Karina Hermkens
26 Contemporary art in Melanesia: from grassroots to national identity? - Eva Ch. Raabe
27 Melanesian worlds of music and dance - Michael Webb
28 The Melanesian world of paradise tourism: reflections on time, travel and cultural performance - John P. Taylor
PART VII: DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCES
29 Places and paths in Melanesian landscapes - Borut Telban
30 Extractive industries in Melanesia - Glenn Banks
31 Climate change in the islands and the highlands: Melanesian manifestations, experiences and actions - Edvard Hviding and Camilla Borrevik
32 Western conservation in Melanesia: biodiversity conservation - for whom, by whom, and according to whom? - Bridget M. Henning
33 New media, new Melanesia? - Geoffrey Hobbis
34 Afterword - Marilyn Strathern
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.
"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