Back to the village: return migrants and the changing discourse of tradition in Manus, Papua New Guinea

Otto, Ton (2013) Back to the village: return migrants and the changing discourse of tradition in Manus, Papua New Guinea. Anthropological Forum, 23 (4). pp. 428-440.

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Abstract

This paper discusses an aspect of the Melanesian kastom discourse that is demonstrated very cogently in the work of Robert Tonkinson, namely the striking contrast between national and local concepts of tradition. In Manus local notions of objectified tradition have been called kastom in Tok Pisin for about 35 years. Recently, the word kalsa has become popular as well. In this article I show how the meanings of these two terms have bifurcated and now represent quite different views on cultural heritage, ownership, and change. I argue that return migrants have taken their urban views to the village setting and that the resulting contest of meanings and practices has engendered the new semantic division between two different concepts of tradition. Events during a large cultural festival held in 2006/7 are discussed to show the emergence of the new discourse.

Item ID: 29398
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-2902
Keywords: cultural heritage, kastom, cultural festival, return migration, cultural change
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2014 02:29
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 80%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169905 Studies of Pacific Peoples Societies @ 20%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage @ 80%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 20%
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