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Indigenous Efflorescence »

Beyond Revitalisation in Sapmi and Ainu Mosir

Publication date: 2018
Indigenous efflorescence refers to the surprising economic prosperity, demographic increase and cultural renaissance currently found amongst many Indigenous communities around the world. This book moves beyond a more familiar focus on ‘revitalisation’ to situate these developments within their broader political and economic contexts. The materials in this volume also examine the everyday practices and subjectivities of Indigenous efflorescence and how these exist in tension with ongoing colonisation of Indigenous lands, and the destabilising impacts of global neoliberal capitalism. Contributions to this volume include both research articles and shorter case studies, and are drawn from amongst the Ainu and Sami (Saami/Sámi) peoples (in Ainu Mosir in northern Japan, and Sapmi in northern Europe, respectively). This volume will be of use to scholars working on contemporary Indigenous issues, as well as to Indigenous peoples engaged in linguistic and cultural revitalisation, and other aspects of Indigenous efflorescence.

The Promise of Prosperity  »

Visions of the Future in Timor-Leste

Publication date: 2018
For the people of Timor-Leste, independence promised a fundamental transformation from foreign occupation to self-rule, from brutality to respect for basic rights, and from poverty to prosperity. In the eyes of the country’s political leaders, revenue from the country’s oil and gas reserves is the means by which that transformation could be effected. Over the past decade, they have formulated ambitious plans for state-led development projects and rapid economic growth. Paradoxically, these modernist visions are simultaneously informed by and contradict ideas stemming from custom, religion, accountability and responsibility to future generations. This book explores how the promise of prosperity informs policy and how policy debates shape expectations about the future in one of the world’s newest and poorest nation-states.

The Bounty from the Beach »

Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Essays

Publication date: October 2018
The Bounty from the Beach is a collection of cross-disciplinary essays, capitalising on a widely shared fascination for the Bounty story in order to draw scholarly attention to Oceania. It aims to reorient the Bounty focus away from the West, where most Bounty narratives and studies have emerged, to the Pacific, where most of the original events unfolded. It investigates the Bounty heritage from the standpoint of the beach, Greg Dening’s metaphor for culture contact and conflict in the Pacific Islands: this liminal place that transforms Islanders and voyagers, islands and ships, each time it is crossed. It analyses the way newcomers create new islands, and how these changes may occasionally impact the world. This volume examines the ‘little people’, to use another of Dening’s expressions, who stand ‘on both sides of the beach’: they are Polynesian or European or, as beaches are crossed and remade, no longer one without the other, but bound together in processes of change. Among these people are Bounty sailors, beachcombers, Pitcairners and indigenous Pacific Islanders of the past and the present. This collection also explores the works of some renowned Western writers and actors who, turning mutineers after their own fashion and in their own times, themselves crossed the beach and attempted to illuminate the ‘little people’ involved in the Bounty narratives. These prominent writers and actors put the spotlight on characters who were silenced on account of race, class or geographical distance from the dominant centres of power. Inspired by Dening’s empowering voice, our purpose is to fill that silence. Just as it criss-crosses the ocean, progressing with the ship through time and space, The Bounty from the Beach ranges far and wide across disciplines, methodologies and scholarly styles. Its multidisciplinary course contributes to illuminate the multiple ways in which the Bounty heritage embraces diverse horizons. It throws light on the colonial discourse that undertook to stifle Pacific Islander agency, and the neocolonial policies that have been applied to Oceania, and still are: hegemonic moves that have led to global environmental, nuclear and ecological hazards. As a whole, the collection contends that what unfolds in this vast ocean matters: the stakes are high for the whole human community.

Global Debates, Local Dilemmas »

Sex-selective Abortion in Contemporary Viet Nam

Authored by: Tran Minh Hang
Publication date: 2018
The practice of sex-selective abortion is on the rise globally, stirring debates about gender inequality, medical ethics and reproductive autonomy. This book is the first ethnography to document practices of sex selection in Viet Nam. It shows how and why abortions are used to select the sex of children and how Vietnamese individuals and health professionals are implicated in this illicit and controversial practice. Telling the stories of women who have undergone sex-selective abortions, it traces their passage through sex determination and abortion decision-making phases, and investigates their experiences during and after their sex-selective abortions. It describes the turmoil experienced by individuals who undergo such abortions and explores their interactions with the spectrum of social actors and health institutions that facilitate practices of sex selection. As the first ethnographic study on sex-selective abortions in Viet Nam, this book delves into socially sensitive terrain and sheds light on personally fraught individual experiences of reproductive agency. It documents societal responses to sex-selective abortions in Viet Nam and identifies gaps in the state’s capacity to regulate reproductive desire in a marketised economy. A resource for researchers, it contributes to ongoing debates on sex selection and provides a framework for developing relevant social policies, interventions and support services. ‘This pioneering study offers a nuanced and sensitive account of sex-selective abortion as human experience. Through thought provoking case studies, the book provides rare ethnographic documentation of the complex quandaries that arise as selective reproductive technologies are routinised across the globe.’ — Tine M. Gammeltoft, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Divided Loyalties »

Displacement, belonging and citizenship among East Timorese in West Timor

Authored by: Andrey Damaledo
Publication date: September 2018
Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this study explores the ideas of belonging and citizenship among former pro-autonomy East Timorese who have elected to settle indefinitely in West Timor. The study follows different East Timorese groups and examines various ways they construct and negotiate their socio-political identities following the violent and destructive separation from their homeland. The East Timorese might have had Indonesia as their destination when they left the eastern half of the island in the aftermath of the referendum, but they have not relinquished their cultural identities as East Timorese. The study highlights the significance of the notions of origin, ancestry and alliance in our understanding of East Timorese place-making and belonging to a particular locality. Another feature of belonging that informs East Timorese identity is their narrative of sacrifice to maintain connections with their homeland and move on with their lives in Indonesia. These sacrificial narratives elaborate an East Timorese spirit of struggle and resilience, a feature further exemplified in the transformation of their political activities within the Indonesian political system.

Read till it shatters »

Nationalism and identity in modern Thai literature

Authored by: Thak Chaloemtiarana
Publication date: August 2018
This book introduces readers to modern Thai literature through the themes of modernity, nationalism, identity and gender. In the cultural, political and social transformations that occurred in Thailand during the first half of the twentieth century, Thai literature was one of the vehicles that moved the changes. Taking seriously ‘read till it shatters’, a Thai phrase that instructs readers to take apart the text, to break it down, to deconstruct it, Thak Chaloemtiarana challenges the Thai literary canon from the margins and suggests ways of expanding and enriching it. Thai literature is scarce in translation and requires the skills of a scholar fluent in Thai to comprehend it. Thak is a political scientist turned literary scholar who is bilingual in Thai and English and an avid reader of Thai fiction by authors up and down the social scale. Here he offers lively insights into his favourite literary genres with fresh readings of early Thai novels, Sino-Thai biographies and memoirs of the rich and famous. ‘Thak Chaloemtiarana is an inquisitive man. Late in his career he switched from politics to literature. In these chapters, he draws on a lifetime of reading about writers and writing in Thailand over the past century. He nods towards the usual big names—King Vajiravudh, Luang Wichit, Kulap Saipradit, Kukrit Pramoj—but spends more time on those found in the lesser visited stacks of the libraries, the secondhand bookstalls, and the shelf by the supermarket checkout. His themes are familiar—Thailand and the West, Thai nationalism, the Thai-Chinese, and women under patriarchy—but the angles of vision are original. With a cast ranging from motor-racing princes through sexy Egyptian mummies and a feminist serial murderer to starlets touting breast-enhancement techniques, this book educates, enlightens, and entertains.’ — Dr Chris Baker, Bangkok-based author with Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Ayutthaya (Cambridge 2017)

Australian Native Title Anthropology »

Strategic practice, the law and the state

Authored by: Kingsley Palmer
Publication date: May 2018
The Australian Federal Native Title Act 1993 marked a revolution in the recognition of the rights of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. The legislation established a means whereby Indigenous Australians could make application to the Federal Court for the recognition of their rights to traditional country. The fiction that Australia was terra nullius (or ‘void country’), which had prevailed since European settlement, was overturned. The ensuing legal cases, mediated resolutions and agreements made within the terms of the Native Title Act quickly proved the importance of having sound, scholarly and well-researched anthropology conducted with claimants so that the fundamentals of the claims made could be properly established. In turn, this meant that those opposing the claims would also benefit from anthropological expertise. This is a book about the practical aspects of anthropology that are relevant to the exercise of the discipline within the native title context. The engagement of anthropology with legal process, determined by federal legislation, raises significant practical as well as ethical issues that are explored in this book. It will be of interest to all involved in the native title process, including anthropologists and other researchers, lawyers and judges, as well as those who manage the claim process. It will also be relevant to all who seek to explore the role of anthropology in relation to Indigenous rights, legislation and the state.

The Contest for Aboriginal Souls »

European missionary agendas in Australia

Authored by: Regina Ganter
Publication date: May 2018
This book covers the missionary activity in Australia conducted by non-English speaking missionaries from Catholic and Protestant mission societies from its beginnings to the end of the mission era. It looks through the eyes of the missionaries and their helpers, as well as incorporating Indigenous perspectives and offering a balanced assessment of missionary endeavour in Australia, attuned to the controversies that surround mission history. It means neither to condemn nor praise, but rather to understand the various responses of Indigenous communities, the intentions of missionaries, the agendas of the mission societies and the many tensions besetting the mission endeavour. It explores a common commitment to the supernatural and the role of intermediaries like local diplomats and evangelists from the Pacific Islands and Philippines, and emphasises the strong role played by non-English speakers in the transcultural Australian mission effort. This book is a companion to the website German Missionaries in Australia – A web-directory of intercultural encounters. The web-directory provides detailed accounts of Australian missions staffed with German speakers. The book reads laterally across the different missions and produces a completely different type of knowledge about missions. The book and its accompanying website are based on a decade of research ranging across mission archives with foreign-language sources that have not previously been accessed for a historiography of Australian missions. ‘A remarkable intellectual achievement, compelling reading.’ — Dr Niel Gunson ‘The range of knowledge on display here is very impressive indeed.’ — Professor Peter Monteath

The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones »

Pacific Islands Perspectives

Publication date: May 2018
The moral economy of mobile phones implies a field of shifting relations among consumers, companies and state actors, all of whom have their own ideas about what is good, fair and just. These ideas inform the ways in which, for example, consumers acquire and use mobile phones; companies promote and sell voice, SMS and data subscriptions; and state actors regulate both everyday use of mobile phones and market activity around mobile phones. Ambivalence and disagreement about who owes what to whom is thus an integral feature of the moral economy of mobile phones. This volume identifies and evaluates the stakes at play in the moral economy of mobile phones. The six main chapters consider ethnographic cases from Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu. The volume also includes a brief introduction with background information on the recent ‘digital revolution’ in these countries and two closing commentaries that reflect on the significance of the chapters for our understanding of global capitalism and the contemporary Pacific.

Skin, Kin and Clan »

The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia

Publication date: April 2018
Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. On no other continent do we see such an array of complex and contrasting social arrangements, coordinated through a principle of ‘universal kinship’ whereby two strangers meeting for the first time can recognise one another as kin. For some time, Australian kinship studies suffered from poor theorisation and insufficient aggregation of data. The large-scale AustKin project sought to redress these problems through the careful compilation of kinship information. Arising from the project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia. A number of the contributions focus on reconstructing how these systems originated and developed over time. Others are concerned with the relationship between kinship and land, the semantics of kin terms and the dynamics of kin interactions.