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Encompassing Others: The Magic of Modernity in Melanesia Paperback – September 5, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (September 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472088351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472088355
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LazyJo on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Here, LiPuma does an increadible job of combining analyses of local and global forces in many registers. Through his lifelong study of the Maring (in Melanesia), LiPuma questions the conventional limits of ethnography which puts the Other on the stage for inquiry. Rather, his analysis of contemporary changes (he is concerned with a period of roughly 1950-1980) occurring within the Maring community incorporates a reflexive inquiry into the agents of Western modernity, such as missionaries, health care personnel, and ethnographers (including himself). In the context of late capitalist globalization, LiPuma charts out fragmented, and indeterminate courses which Western modernist projects inevitably take in any local settings. Furthermore, this contingency of local forces becomes complicated by the tensions and heterogenous motives of the agents of modernity themselves. This type of analysis cannot be achieved in those studies which overemphasize the power of global forces (i.e., capitalism, construction of nation-states in relation to int'l arena, commodities, etc) in imposing meta-narrative aspect of social changes. Against this background, LiPuma weaves out a story within which a modern and the Other are inextricably linked and mutually constituted. In the process of this storytelling, his analysis and emphasis on the power of epistemology in shaping social changes is crucial. It seems we need more studies on how the desires and subjects are constituted in a complex web of socio-historical conjunctures, such as the one exemplified by LiPuma's eloquent work.
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