Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua by Joel Robbins
By Joel Robbins
Read or Download Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4) PDF
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Extra info for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)
Their reports suggested that these religious systems, despite what had been by then several decades of colonization, had remained robust and continued to deﬁne the meaningful parameters of life for everyone in the region. Yet by the early 1990s, the period of my ﬁeldwork, the Urapmin, like many of their neighbors, no longer practiced their traditional religion. By their own account, they had not practiced it since 1977. That was the year that a Christian revival began to sweep through many of the groups in their region.
With the exception of two men who have spent the last ten years working in unskilled positions in Tabubil, a mining town in the Min region, all Urapmin make their way through life as subsistence gardeners. 1 Hence the “infrastructure” of Urapmin life hardly changed at all during the period that saw their rapid and thorough turn to Christianity. Indeed, if you went to Urapmin and did not listen to what people said but only watched what they did (and if in doing so you ignored the obviously Christian rituals they performed), Urapmin life in the early 1990s would look for all the world like it ﬁt the stereotype of traditional Papua New Guinea village life.
As Friedman (1999: 247) points out, “The metaphor of mixture is ﬂat. ” There is, as these commentators suggest, a real need to bring some order to the ﬁeld by exploring the different types of relations cultures can contract with one another and the circumstances that push situations toward one type or another. The viability of such a project of ordering, and hence of an anthropology of globalization more generally, depends on the accomplishment of an even more fundamental task of developing a viable theory of how cultures change; a theory that both accounts for the causes of change and speciﬁes the mechanisms by which it occurs (see LiPuma 2000: 89).