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Grand Valley Dani: Peaceful Warriors (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology) [Paperback]

Karl G. Heider
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1, 1996 0155051733 978-0155051737 3
This case study examines an isolated tribe in Indonesia, West New Guinea, when tribe members were still using stone axes, bows, arrows and spears, up to more present times spanning 34 years (1961-1995). The author's long engagement with the Dani results in a wide range of engaging topics as well as coverage of the ethical dilemma he faced as an anthropologist. One immediately acquires a sense of the limitations and strengths of the anthropologist's role in the field. Heider's 1995 visit to the Dugnm Dani left him less optimistic about the future of the Dani than his 1988 visit. Indonesian Independence Day was celebrated during Heider's stay. The Dani presence was barely acknowledged, while the Indonesian presence was colorfully represented. The past mistakes of foreign occupation of indigenous territory, committed mostly by Western powers, now seem repeated by the Indonesian authorities.

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Grand Valley Dani: Peaceful Warriors (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology) + Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology (14th Edition)
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Product Details

  • Series: Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 3 edition (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0155051733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0155051737
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey to Irian Jaya January 13, 2006
This book is an ethnography of the Dani, a people living in the Grand Valley, a temperate plain along the Balim River in central Irian Jaya (New Guinea). Heider visited the region and got to know the Dani during four study visits over nine years, beginning in 1961. The book includes information on standard ethnographic topics, such as environment, population density, labor and its division, tools, arts and play, social relationships, kinship terms, leadership, religion and ritual, funerals, and feasts.

One aspect that makes this book stand out from others of its type is that Heider is forthright in discussing the limitations of his research and conclusions. He notes that he was never able to develop enough fluency in the language to fully comprehend what was being discussed around him, or even what people tried to explain to him. He also describes how hard it was for him to collect information about the culture because the Dani either had no knowledge of or no interest in how their lives might be different from other people's lives. As a man, Heider had limited contact with women, so his descriptions of aspects of women's lives are very superficial. From Heider's descriptions, the Dani were extremely noncompetitive, to the point that they spontaneously eliminated scoring and team play from children's games introduced by government school teachers. To Heider, the Dani seemed to have a relatively easy-going life-style, made possible by a temperate environment with practically no seasonal variation. The diet was based on sweet potatoes and pork, and these could be grown year-round, so there was no need to grow and store surpluses for lean seasons. Heider was very apprehensive about what the future would bring for the Dani, as government officials and teachers introduced new housing materials, new foods, and most importantly new values to the people of the Valley.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated Ethnography of the Dani February 5, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While it is a fascinating reading in itself, this book is best read after the more comprehensive classic "The Dugum Dani" by the same author, of which this work is something of an update.
It is very interesting - though somewhat disturbing - to read how the Grand Valley Dani have coped with four decades of "civilization" under mostly Indonesian rule, during which the Baliem Valley has become a regional government, military and tourism centre all at once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting work September 7, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Heider is one of the experts on this tribal group. The book is clear, concise, and gives new and updated information on the group after his previous publications. I found the last few chapters particuliarly interesting. They gave a lot of informtion about his subsequent visits and the state of the Dani during those visits. I also suggest anything written by Gardner on this group. This book can stand alone with or without his previous research.
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