Claiming Culture: New definitions and ownership of cultural practices in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea

Steffen Dalsgaard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In the past in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, specialised practices, such as the construction of canoes or traditional slit-drums (garamuts), were the property of patrilineal descent groups. Today, processes of objectification of traditions have generated new cultural identifications and redefined the ways skills are perceived as resources and can be claimed as property. The present article traces contemporary developments of notions of tradition and culture in Manus and discusses these in the light of empirical material obtained in connection with the preparations for an ethnographic exhibition on Manus. The argument is that cultural practices classified as kastam are part of local interpretations of cultural differences in ways that seem contingent with precolonial 'cultural totemism' but, as knowledge, cultural practices can also be transacted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-32
    JournalThe Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Volume10
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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