Laments and relational personhood: case studies from Duna and Awiakay societies of Papua New Guinea

Gillespie, Kirsty, and Hoenigman, Darja (2013) Laments and relational personhood: case studies from Duna and Awiakay societies of Papua New Guinea. Humanities Research, 19 (3). pp. 97-110.

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[Extract] Lamenting is a very important aspect of musical culture across Papua New Guinea, a country of more than 800 indigenous language groups and a vast variety of cultural practices. Many anthropological texts address the lament across the country. In Papua New Guinea, laments - which we define for our purposes as verbal expressions that are performed at death of a person or other living things (as opposed to verbal expressions about loss more generally) - are established genres that usually have a name or category attached to them. Although lamenting is typically the domain of women, an older women in particular, who bring to the genre a great body of knowledge and considerable skill accumulated over years of mourning, both adult men and women can be composers and performers of laments, particularly in Awiakay society. Laments in Papua New Guinea can be microcosms of a culture; they contain within them detail about the life of the deceased, and the lamenter, listing the places of their heritage, the activities they once performed and their role within the community, as well as pointing to any exiting tensions in relationships between the lamenter and other members of the community, and thus aiming at socially appropriate actions that need to be taken in order to re-establish distorted relationships. Laments are thus as much a part of the present (and consequently the future) as they are of the past. Therefore, to examine a lament closely is to learn much about Papua New Guinean cultures.

Item ID: 47871
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-8491
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 05:47
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 60%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage @ 50%
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