Current Institutional Affiliation
Lecturer, Anthropology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, Princeton University
Pikosa: Loss and Life in the Papua New Guinea Highlands

This research investigates changing concepts of "person" in Bena Bena, Papua New Guinea through an ethnographic study of male initiation. I hypothesize that contemporary initiation represents a contest between models of personhood: one model embedded in Melanesian premises of relationality, the other tied to the social forms of state, church, and market capitalism. I divide the inquiry into three ethnographic domains: morality, temporality, and body. Sustained observation and analysis will contextualize initiation in terms of Bena Bena culture and the social transformations represented by education, crime, and Christian belief. This research will investigate the role that ritual plays in sustaining and modifying cultural premises.