Collaborations and Conflicts: A Leader Through Time by Andrew Strathern

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Andrew Strathern
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Book review

This is a uniquely dramatic account of life in the Papua New Guinea Highlands as told by a well-known leader of the Kawelka people of Mount Hagen. Set into context with a contemporary introduction that discusses the usefulness of biography in anthropology, the case study presents the already well-known autobiography of Ongka, a leader who witnessed the arrival of the first outsiders to the Highlands of New Guinea in the 1930s. By using a life history approach, this ethnographic account serves as a lens through which the student of anthropology will see the wider processes of conflict and change brought to the Kawelka people through contact with the outside world. Capitalizing on the growing awareness of the importance of writing history from an anthropological viewpoint, the book packages Ongka's account in a way that facilitates its use in the teaching of experiential anthropology. The voices of other Kawelka people, including one of Ongka's married daughters, adds new dimensions to the already rich account.


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