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Stone Men of Malekula on Malakula: An ethnography of an ethnography

Geismar, H; (2009) Stone Men of Malekula on Malakula: An ethnography of an ethnography. Ethnos , 74 (2) 199 - 228. 10.1080/00141840902940468.

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Abstract

This article examines the resonances of the voluminous ethnography, 'Stone Men of Malekula' (SMM) in contemporary Vanuatu. Anthropological research is politically charged in Vanuatu, in part because of how the weighty materiality of archival forms exercise significant local authority. However, alongside respect for this 'evidential' material is a healthy scepticism of anthropological authority. SMM, written by the maverick anthropologist John Layard in 1942 (based on fieldwork in 1914-15), has returned to Vanuatu in many guises over the years. It is used as formal evidence in land disputes and as a bone of contention within competing claims. Tracing the ways in which culture is written, read and materialized, exposes the paradoxes of knowledge and politics not only within anthropological critique but in Vanuatu villages. © 2009 Routledge Journals, Taylor and Francis.

Type:Article
Title:Stone Men of Malekula on Malakula: An ethnography of an ethnography
DOI:10.1080/00141840902940468
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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