Warfare and exchange in a Melanesian society before colonial pacification: the case of Manus, Papua New Guinea

Otto, Ton (2006) Warfare and exchange in a Melanesian society before colonial pacification: the case of Manus, Papua New Guinea. In: Otto, Ton, Thrane, Henrik, and Vandkilde, Helle, (eds.) Warfare and society: archaeological and social anthropoligical perspectives. Aarhus University Press, Aarhus, Denmark, pp. 187-199.

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[Extract] Just before the arrival of Western colonisers the Admiralty Islands - now Manus Province in Papua New Guinea (Fig. 1) - were a warlike environment. This picture is confirmed both by the local oral tradition and by observations from the early colonisers. The ubiquity of warfare had a deep impact on the local social system, of which it was a part, and it is primarily this system that I wish to describe in this chapter. Melanesian anthropology has contributed an important body of ethnographic material as well as theoretical sophistication to the study of tribal warfare (see Knauft 1999; Brandt chapter 6; Helbling chapter 9). Because warfare ended in Manus at the beginning of the 20th century, the Manus material has not really been integrated into the study of Melanesian tribal warfare. Of the modern anthropologists working in Manus, only Theodore Schwartz (1963) pays due attention to precolonial warfare in his major article on 'systems of areal integration', which has been an important source of inspiration for the present chapter. The basis for the following reconstruction is, apart from extensive historical material written in English, Russian and particularly German (Otto 1994b), a body of oral histories which I collected primarily during my first fieldwork in Manus, mainly on Baluan Island, from March 1986 to March 1988. This material was not collected with the aim of studying precolonial warfare, but out of a general interest in social and cultural change. Its extent and historical depth can by no means match that of the oral histories collected by Wiessner and Tumu among the Enga (see Wiessner chapter 11), but it still provides an important additional perspective on precolonial Manus warfare.

Item ID: 16736
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-87-7934-110-4
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2011 00:07
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210199 Archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950599 Understanding Past Societies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 50%
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