The Tewada people of Papua New Guinea conduct large-scale fish poisoning in rivers once or twice a year. On 13 July 2003, 94 people (80 male, 14 female) representing 61% of all Tewada hamlets gathered for this purpose. Kinship networks are important in forming fishing groups. Although experts among the Tewada have secret knowledge of fish poisoning and perform magical roles central to such efforts, they do not have exclusive direct influence on the organization of fishing groups. Fishing groups are formed by three people from a single kinship network: the expert, the messenger, and the plant provider. Thus social networks based on kinship serve as the foundation of the fishing groups. In Tewada society, fish poisoning experts are not prominent political leaders who organize fishing groups based on personal power. Rather, fish poisoning experts among the Tewada resemble functional specialists who utilize their own kinship networks.
Processes of colonization and decolonization, as well as contemporary exposure to various global forces in the form of foreign investment, aid, guest workers, and tourism, have brought a series of changes to the Republic of Palau. What sustains Palau’s economy and provides the revenue base for its government are financial arrangements with the United States, aid from other governments, foreign investment, and other mainly foreign sources of income. In short, a significant portion of Palau’s livelihood and survivability are secured through external sources of income. Indeed this structure of Palau’s government and its national economy can only be sustained as long as those foreign actors continue to invest capital in Palau. Considering the inherent vulnerability of small island-states and the weakening of indigenous means of production and locally sustainable lifestyles, such a decline in investment might lead to real collapse. With this possibility in mind, this study explores potential state-making strategies for Palau’s future. Using a deductive forecasting method drawn from the Futures Studies field, it suggests alternative future scenarios for Palau. Its main argument is that Palau should consider major elements of the Disciplined Society model in order to strengthen its national foundations, at the same time pursuing the element of Continued Growth with more autonomy.
This article describes the use of contemporary pottery on the western coast of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, discussing the place of pottery in the cooking system and the social dimension of pottery as cooking vessels. The western coast of Santo is the only region of Vanuatu where the production of pottery continued into the postcontact period and still exists today, though it was largely abandoned elsewhere in the archipelago during prehistoric times. While the use of pottery for cooking purposes is no longer common due to the spread of alternative cooking ware (metal pots), people on the western coast of Santo still possess various techniques for cooking with pottery, and these practices persist when metal is used. Pottery in Santo is used for processing root crops, green vegetables, and meat, and the people distinguish several techniques for cooking these food types. Cooking of meat or vegetables is more commonly observed, which implies the relative importance of pottery in such cases. Although certain correlations between vessel shapes and food types were identified through the interview, these were not clearly reflected in actual pot-cooking activities. Persistent production and use of pottery in northern Vanuatu, including Santo, are most likely sustained by the sociopolitical and economic conditions that were typically noted in ethnographies of the area: the competitive system of grade taking and the exchange network that extends over a wide region and connects different groups of people. Within Northern Vanuatu’s great cultural and linguistic diversity, the task of locating the social space of a given group relative to others by emphasizing their differences becomes critical for maintaining local autonomy. Pottery, under such circumstances, played an important role in establishing and maintaining social relations, which could have been actively expressed through the use of pottery in cooking.
This paper aims to shed light on the validity of previous studies by reconstructing in detail the Lami’s historical development from its beginning to the 1990s. The Lami is a cooperative group in Fiji whose main characteristic has been radically changing its members’ lives. Lami people not only abolish or simplify some parts of Fijian customs such as wedding and funeral ceremonies; they also abstain from luxuries such as kava and tobacco. Previous studies take for granted (1) the relationship between characteristic activities of the Lami and its members’ sterile land and unstable land rights, and (2) the Lami’s relationship with Melanesian cargo cults such as the Viti Kabani movement in Fiji. In this paper I would like to use archival and ethnographic studies to question these assumed relationships.
This paper draws on anthropological fieldwork conducted at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture between 2004 and 2008. It describes the formation of the Oceania Centre and discusses certain “Red Wave” artists. In illustrating how their style of art is learned and produced, the paper considers the shared stylistic repertoires thought to define such “collective” Oceanic art. When it discovers that senior artists experience a process of “individualization” seemingly counter to the principles of the Centre, the paper turns to investigate the origin of these stylistic differences between the artists. It concludes by discussing the function of style itself, finding that stylistic differentiation emerges not to threaten the stability of “the collective” but rather to produce for artists and audiences alike new social and symbolic connections and relations.