Kinship and Marriage in a New Guinea Village

By H. Ian Hogbin | Go to book overview

II
The Last Years

OUR study has brought us to the years of maturity, when the man's children may be expected to be old enough to marry. In the earlier chapters I have frequently referred to the part the seniors play in the village life, and we can therefore pass quickly over the final period. One subject only, the way in which special distinction is won, demands detailed consideration. Four fields are open, and a man may gain prestige in any of them. If he has the necessary qualifications he can decide to be a craftsman or a club head, or he may seek appointment as a Government representative or Church leader. A few may even gain double renown, perhaps as a craftsman and club head, perhaps as a club head and Government representative.


THE VILLAGE NOTABLES

Certain of the old crafts have disappeared as European contact has increased. Stone tools are no longer valued, for instance, and I never met anyone who could fashion them. In 1945 people regretted the loss of the art of net making, but this was a temporary phase. All the seines were burned during the war-time bombing raids, and the men were saying that if only the ancestors had passed on their skills new ones might have been woven from home-made ropes and cordage, Gilingu' alone knew what to do but despaired of training a sufficient number of pupils to carry out the work in reasonable time. Shortly afterwards, however, the Army withdrew, and the Fisheries units disposed of their equipment, including several large nets.

The services of eight or nine carpenters, on the other hand, are in constant demand for directing and supervising village building operations, such as the erection of dwellings, clubs, and schools. Probably these men possessed innate ability, but they also had to be trained. The local school teachers selected two of them in early youth as likely candidates and sent them for instruction to the Mission technical college, then located at Finschhafen. Mission and Government authorities still call on them occasionally when extra buildings are needed. One gave a good deal of help in Lae after the war, and the other was away for six months during 1949 and 1950 working on a new hospital in Madang. A third carpenter, Alingam, served his apprenticeship with a European contractor, who early recognized his talent. Alingam says that when his master became seriously

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Kinship and Marriage in a New Guinea Village
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • London School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Contents viii
  • I - The Setting 1
  • 2 - Kin and Community 13
  • 3 - Kinship Terms 38
  • 4 - Birth and Early Childhood 53
  • 5 - Later Childhood and Adolescence 72
  • 6 - Awakening of the Sexual Impulses 94
  • 7 - Marriage 103
  • 8 - Husband and Wife 124
  • 9 - Supporting a Family 138
  • I0 - Fulfilling Obligations 154
  • II - The Last Years 164
  • References 171
  • Index 174
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