The Gebusi: Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-31
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

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Supplemental Materials

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Written specifically for students, this ethnography provides an engaging, real-life account of the transition from a traditional to a modern culture. It uses vibrant, poignant stories and examples to connect developments among Gebusi to topics widely discussed in anthropology courses, including comparative aspect of subsistence, kinship, politics, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationalism, and applied anthropology. When first studied by Bruce Knauft, the Gebusi of Papua New Guinea conducted ritual dances and spirit seances, practiced alternative sexual customs, and endured a high rate of violence. By the late 1990s, Gebusi had converted to Christianity and actively pursued market activity, schooling, government programs, sports leagues, and disco music. By 2008, however, their public services and cash economy had deteriorated, and Gebusi relied increasingly, once again, on indigenous customs and practices. Some aspects of change, however, remained enduring. More recently, problems of economic hardship have persistedas has the resilience of Gebusi culture.This third edition of the The Gebusihas been updated and streamlined throughout and has new material as well as "Broader Connections" sections following each chapter.

Author Biography

Yuway of the Gebusi Wapksiayk clan was born about 1961. Yuway was Bruce Knauft's friend and language helper during his first fieldwork. Bruce helped support his initiation into adulthood along with his courtship and marriage. The father of five children, Yuway became a Christian during the 1990s and remained one of Bruce's closest Gebusi friends. He died of an illness in June 2009 at about 48 years of age. This third edition of The Gebusi is dedicated to his memory.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: 1980–82

CHAPTER 1: Friends in the Forest

Broader Connections: Fieldwork and Culture

CHAPTER 2: Rhythms of Survival

Broader Connections: Subsistence, Health, and Language

CHAPTER 3: Lives of Death

Broader Connections: Life Stories and “Doing Ethnography”

CHAPTER 4: Getting Along with Kin and Killers

Broader Connections: Kinship, Marriage, and Social Organization

CHAPTER 5: Spirits, Sex, and Celebration

Broader Connections: Sexuality and Gender

CHAPTER 6: Ultimate Splendor

Broader Connections: Ritual Initiation and Life-Cycle Transitions

PART TWO: 1998

CHAPTER 7: Time for Change: Yuway’s Sacred Decision

Broader Connections: Sociocultural and Religious Change

CHAPTER 8: Pennies and Peanuts, Rugby and Radios

Broader Connections: Markets, Development, and Modern Aspirations

CHAPTER 9: Mysterious Romance, Marital Choice

Broader Connections: Youth and Modernity, “Companionate” Marriage

CHAPTER 10: Sayu’s Dance and After

Broader Connections: Nationhood, Ethnicity, and Folklore


CHAPTER 11: Revival 2008

Broader Connections: Cultural Survival, Economic Decline, and the Reinvention of Traditions

CHAPTER 12: 2012 and Beyond

Broader Connections: Globalization, Political Economy, and Engaged AnthropologyFarewell

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