Does anyone with more experience or expertise in the PNG region have something to say with some authority on the recent mini-cavalcade of coverage on PNG.
The text bit below is from the link above. It is a weave of information with assumptions and assertions, that fail to ask what the causes for this are and what the dynamic and context are.
"PNG remains a tribally-oriented patriarchal society, where brutality in the community is a way of life".
"But it appears that until all communities within this tribal nation recognise the causes behind the violence, the safety and dignity of women in the South Pacific will continue to be at risk."
Trust me I am not a romantic, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the warped view of other people and the local-global relationship that (perhaps) well meaning media/NGO people inflict with the unawareness of their own power-relation to the situation.
I have not seen any Anthropologists stepping into the brew at the present moment? I know there is the question of how much an anthropologists thinks and feels this is necessary? (I think it mostly is, but obviously case by case).
I am pretty sure PNG is somehow a sacred territory for anthropologists themselves seeing as so much and so many of them have/are involved there (or so I have been informed when studying).
I found this quite useful, particularly chapter 8 http://bit.ly/MaPOiw.
Is it not an anthropologists imperative to inform the journalists covering this story so that they do not mis-inform the greater public and re-inforce what anthropologists have/are unpicking?
p.s. This story is also starting to get traction across the media http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/cannibal-cult-members-...
My point is not that I am condoning the violence seen in the images, but that why this abuse happens is not as simple as it is portrayed and does not holistically look fro an answer hence why ngo efforts are failing.
Here is an interesting piece http://www.wrm.org.uy/bulletin/121/Papua.html which suggests how the imposition of a male-centric capitalism has disrupted the matrilineal society, and maybe one of the contributing factors to the domestic violence being covered here (which is attributed to a "patriarchal society" in PNG "that needs changing". Perhaps the reporter in the Al-Jazeera video should consider the recent history of socio-cultural change that has led to the introduction of a more patriarchal appearing society, and what the source of patriarchy is in PNG.
What do you want anthropologists to do? Do you want them to contradict what locally run women centers in PNG have known first hand for awhile now? Or do you want them to blame patriarchy or capitalism? I'm more interested in how anthropology can solve the problem. If anthropologists cannot help, it's better that they stay away from the problem. They'll just muddle the issue with their theorizing and romanticizing of the natives.
What do you want anthropologists to do?
I want them to help inform/understand people (whether in PNG, their own society, or themselves).
Do you want them to contradict what locally run women centers in PNG have known first hand for awhile now?
Of course not (though in general I do not see disagreeing in a conversation as a negative, just because someone is a 'local' doesn't mean I agree with them, that is pretty romantic, I just value, appreciate and learn from what they have to say rather than blindly acting on their lives or blindly assuming even they have a full picture), but that is why I am asking here because I would like to know better from anthropologists with knowledge of the area, than a 25 minute edited video of peoples images and voices made by highly assumptive people.
Or do you want them to blame patriarchy or capitalism?
I am not talking of blame and it is not really possible to balme a 'system' as this gives it agency it does not have. But I also do not see anything wrong with condoning capitalistic approaches that are inherently inhumane and negative.
I'm more interested in how anthropology can solve the problem.
I almost agree apart from 'solving' the problem, I would say assist a more indigenously agreeable way of life. But yes I agree in general, which is exactly the point of my post. And what I am asking here is what skills can people as anthropologists bring to this situation???
Of course this is not to barge in and tell people how to live their lives. However some people do barge in, or support barging in, or promise hope in cultural deconstruction but actually leave people simply devoid of their own cultural support.
I was asking advice on what anthropologists could best do, as I was suggesting more directly engaging with temporally active stories couched in certain misconstrued narratives. Having no specific expertise on the PNG people and context I thought it best to ask here on the OAC (I have sent my own complaints to the outlets publishing certain versions of this story).
If anthropologists cannot help, it's better that they stay away from the problem. They'll just muddle the issue with their theorizing and romanticizing of the natives.
Fair point. But nevertheless it is not simple theorizing and romanticizing to point out that many concepts in such stories are not understood at all and support certain dominating narratives that I do not like. Some examples of factual misrepresentation are how bridewealth is presented, how patriarchy/matrilineal etc is used, how culture is represented, the absence of political economic assessment, assertations about tribal legality. These are all topics covered extensively in anthropology. Illuminating is not muddling. I do not believe anthropologists should 'interfere' per se, but I most definitely think they should not shy away from multi-party dialogue.
Apologies for not being clearer in my initial post, and thankyou for beginning to share some advice on my question which is the same as yours, what can anthropology do?
Someone posted this adn teh deleted it. Very useful thank you http://www.thenational.com.pg/?q=node/35971