The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers: by Edward Schieffelin

By Edward Schieffelin

This vintage ethnography, now in moment version, describes the normal lifestyle of the Kaluli, a tropical wooded area humans of Papua New Guinea. The e-book takes as its concentration the nostalgic and violent Gisaro rite, probably the most notable performances within the anthropological literature. monitoring the key symbolic and emotional subject matters of the rite to their resources in daily Kaluli lifestyles, Schieffelin indicates how the valuable values and passions of Kaluli event are ruled by means of the elemental types of social reciprocity. although, Gisaro additionally unearths that social reciprocity isn't restricted to the dynamics of transaction, legal responsibility, and alliance. It emerges, really, as a method of symbolic motion and performative shape, embodying a cultural situation which shapes Kaluli emotional event and ethical sensibility and permeates their figuring out of the human situation.

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We thought it was coming along the ground, but we could not tell where it was 2 For a detailed account of this journey see Schieffelin and Crittenden 1991. 20 / THE SORROW OF THE LONELY coming from. ” and everyone fled out of the house into the bush. When it passed, they thought that whatever it was had been coming along the ground and they searched around to see what it was but they couldn’t find it. Then word came through from [clan] Wasu [to the east]. “It didn’t come along the ground. It came in the sky.

The dancer was momentarily lost in a frightening pandemonium of shadowy figures, torches, and showers of sparks. Showing no sign of pain, he moved slowly across the dancing space; the chorus burst into song. The senior man broke away from the crowd and ran out the back door of the house to wail on the veranda. This scene was repeated over and over from dancer to dancer during the course of the night. ” breaking the spell of their performance and bringing it abruptly to an end. The dancers, 24 / THE SORROW OF THE LONELY whose shoulders were quite badly burned, then paid compensation to those they had made weep, and all the visitors trooped out of the house to go home.

Bags of sago and grimy bark-wrapped bundles of possessions hang nearby from stringers and rafters out of the reach of marauding rats. The houseposts are streaked with dried pandanus juice and grease where people have wiped their hands after meals. The sleeping platforms along with the hall form the portion of the house inhabited by the men. The women, small children, and piglets sleep cramped in two dark, narrow passages down the sides of the house (gælæ suluke), separated from the men’s area by partitions that run at about shoulder height down nearly the length of the building.

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