Acting for Others

Relational Transformations in Papua New Guinea

Pascale Bonnemère

Acting for Others

Pascale Bonnemère

Distributed for HAU

Translated by Nora Scott
With a Foreword by Marilyn Strathern
 
300 pages | 12 halftones, 2 maps | 6 x 9
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780997367584 Will Publish February 2018
For the Ankave of Papua New Guinea, men, unlike women, do not reach adulthood and become fathers simply by growing up and reproducing. What fathers—and by extension, men—actually are is a result of a series of relational transformations, operated in and by rituals in which men and women both perform complementary actions in separate spaces. Acting for Others is a tour de force in Melanesian ethnography, gender studies, and theories of ritual. Based on years of fieldwork conducted by the author and her husband and co-ethnographer, this book’s “double view” of the Ankave ritual cycle—from women in the village and from the men in the forest—is novel, provocative, and one of the most incisive analyses of the emergence of ideas of gender in Papua New Guinea since Marilyn Strathern’s The Gender of the Gift.
At the heart of Pascale Bonnemère’s argument is the idea that it is possible for genders to act for and upon one another, and to do so almost paradoxically, by limiting action through the obeying of taboos and other restrictions. With this first English translation by acclaimed French translator Nora Scott, accompanied by a foreword from Marilyn Strathern, Acting for Others brings the Ankave ritual world to new theoretical life, challenging how we think about mutual action, mutual being, and mutual life.
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