By Joel Robbins
Read Online or Download Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4) PDF
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Additional info for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)
I discuss the Min regional ritual system and Urapmin morality and social structure extensively in other parts of this book. But because they are so important to its argument, a brief introduction to them here will help to orient the analyses that follow. It also allows me to introduce the geography of the Min region and some of the basic elements of the way the Urapmin are organized both socially and in space. The physical layout of Min country provides the map on which the traditional regional ritual system was laid out (see map 1).
It also allows me to introduce the geography of the Min region and some of the basic elements of the way the Urapmin are organized both socially and in space. The physical layout of Min country provides the map on which the traditional regional ritual system was laid out (see map 1). In this system, each group possessed its own rituals, sacra, and bodies of sacred knowledge. Every group’s rituals, sacra, and bodies of knowledge were necessary to the successful operation of the system. But each group’s endowments were also ranked relative to the others, such that the rituals, sacra, and sacred knowledge of some groups were important to the fertility (including both agricultural success and the growth of boys into warriors) of the whole region, and those of other groups were primarily important in ensuring their own fertility.
Inasmuch as Urapmin social structure motivated their sensitivity to moral issues, it played a role in providing the terms in which they understood the humiliations of the colonial era. As important to my argument, however, is the way it also made it possible for the Urapmin to respond so quickly and successfully to those humiliations; for it is one thing to want to change and another to succeed in doing so. A brief sketch of Urapmin social structure will make clear the way it facilitated the project of change the Urapmin undertook.