Torres Strait and Dawdhay: dimensions of self and otherness on Yam Island

Fuary, Maureen (2000) Torres Strait and Dawdhay: dimensions of self and otherness on Yam Island. Oceania, 70 (3). pp. 219-230.

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Abstract

When Papua New Guinea attained independence two decades ago an ahsolute distinction was created between Papua New Guinea and the Torn~s Strait: Papuans were firmly placed in Papua New Guinea territory and Torres Strait Islanders in Australian territory. In constituting themselves as Torres Strait Islanders and more specifically as Australians. Yam Island people's contemporary expressions of their connection to. yet distance from. lowland Papua New Guinea can be best described as ambivalent. pulsing between identification and incorporation. distance and disavowal. I argue that this ambivalence is not an artefact of the establishment of the border per se, but rather it was through the establishment of the border that a new layer was added to Self and Other constructions by Yam Island people in terms of how they see themselves and their Papuan neighbours. The sometimes fraught nature of this relationship can be understood in light of the continuing socio+political impacts of these international border lines on people who have recently combined a somewhat legalistic and political definition of themselves, and of Papuans, with perennial extra+legal definitions. I suggest it is in isolating and exploring domains of interaction that we can see the fluidity and dynamism of Self and Other definitions in operation. and in so doing better appreciate their essential imbrication.

Item ID: 5215
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Torres Strait, Papua New Guinea, identity, self, anthropology
ISSN: 0029-8077
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2009 03:20
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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