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The Fame of Gawa A Symbolic Study of Value Transformation in a Massim Society by Nancy D. Munn

The Fame of Gawa A Symbolic Study of Value Transformation in a Massim Society


The Fame of Gawa A Symbolic Study of Value Transformation in a Massim Society by Nancy D. Munn

This new edition of the critically acclaimed The Fame of Gawa-originally published in 1986-makes available for the first time this important work in paperback. The Fame of Gawa is concerned with fundamental practices of value creation on Gawa, a small island off the southeast coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, the inhabitants of which participate in the long-distance kula shell exchange ring. Integrating various aspects of the study of society and culture--including the sociocultural construction of space and time, self-other relations and the body, and moral and political problems of hierarchy and equality-Nancy D. Munn shows that it is through achieving fame in the wider inter-island world that the Gawan community asserts its own internal viablity.


This is an almost ideal realisation of the twin aims of anthropology and ethnographic writing... This is not just a book about a tiny island, and not just a book for Melanesianists. It coordinates a number of contemporary issues in anthropology. Marilyn Strathern, Man At once both virtuoso ethnography and a brilliant effort at systematic conceptualization in social theory. George Marcus, Choice The Fame of Gawa will sit comfortably on the shelf alongside--or perhaps even replace--Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific as a classic of anthropology... [Munn's book] ... masterfully integrates cultural analysis with detailed ethnography. Miriam Kahn, American Anthropologist

About the Author

Nancy D. Munn is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th June 1992


Nancy D. Munn

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Duke University Press


352 pages





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