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University of California Press
Society of Others: Kinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place / Edition 1

Society of Others: Kinship and Mourning in a West Papuan Place / Edition 1

by Rupert StaschRupert Stasch


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This important study upsets the popular assumption that human relations in small-scale societies are based on shared experience. In a theoretically innovative account of the lives of the Korowai of West Papua, Indonesia, Rupert Stasch shows that in this society, people organize their connections to each another around otherness. Analyzing the Korowai people's famous "tree house" dwellings, their patterns of living far apart, and their practices of kinship, marriage, and childbearing and rearing, Stasch argues that the Korowai actively make relations not out of what they have in common, but out of what divides them. Society of Others, the first anthropological book about the Korowai, offers a picture of Korowai lives sharply at odds with stereotypes of "tribal" societies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520256866
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Rupert Stasch is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, San Diego.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Note on Language xv
Introduction: Otherness as a Relation 1

1. A Dispersed Society: Place Ownership and the Crossing of Spatial Margins 25

2. Pairing and Avoidance: An Otherness-Focused Approach to Social Ties 73

3. Strange Kin: Maternal Uncles and the Spectrum of Relatives 105

4. Children and the Contingency of Attachment 140

5. Marriage as Disruption and Creation of Belonging 173

6. Dialectics of Contact and Separation in Mourning 208

Conclusion 255
Notes 277
References 291
Index 303

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This well-researched, carefully written ethnography . . . contributes to anthropological studies of kinship, social organization, and sociality more generally."—Choice

"Powerful"—Comparative Studies
In Society And History / Cssh

"A generously provocative contribution to Melanesian studies and anthropology generally. . . .
Insightful thinking and great originality."—Australian Journal of Anthropology

"A well-written and evocative ethnography of the treehouse-dwelling Karowai people of Papua New Guinea."—Common Knowledge

Customer Reviews