Download Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua by Joel Robbins PDF

By Joel Robbins

In an international of fast and sweeping cultural differences, few have noticeable adjustments as quick and dramatic as these skilled via the Urapmin of Papua New Guinea within the final 4 many years. A distant humans by no means at once "missionized," the Urapmin begun within the Nineteen Sixties to ship younger males to review with Baptist missionaries residing between neighboring groups. via the past due Seventies, the Urapmin had gone through a charismatic revival, leaving behind their conventional faith for a Christianity intensely taken with human sinfulness and pushed by means of a relentless experience of millennial expectation. Exploring the Christian tradition of the Urapmin, Joel Robbins indicates how its preoccupations supply keys to figuring out the character of cultural swap extra quite often. In so doing, he deals one of many richest to be had anthropological bills of Christianity as a lived faith. Theoretically formidable and engagingly written, his ebook opens a distinct standpoint on a Melanesian society, non secular adventure, and the very nature of speedy cultural change.

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Extra info for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)

Sample text

The second half of this book is focused on their encounter with that moral system and their response to the ways it both resembles and contradicts their traditional one. In the present context, however, the important point to recognize is that it was the traditional Urapmin preoccupation with morality that made them susceptible to being humiliated on moral grounds during the early part of the colonial process, and that this moral humiliation joined the humiliation of their declining regional importance in pushing them to reach out to adopt Christianity in the strong sense in which I am claiming they did.

Of course, the Urapmin did not experience marginalization along all these dimensions at once. Tabubil, for example, did not start to become a central place until the 1970s, and the town was not built until the early 1980s. But from very early in the colonial period, indeed from when the station was initially established and the Urapmin were passed by in the first round of mission airstrip construction, the trend of their marginalization was obvious to them. We can get a glimpse of how this marginalization spurred on Urapmin efforts to change by looking at how they interacted with another Min group, the Atbalmin, who live to the west of Tifalmin (Bercovitch 1989).

Introduction 5 In the next section, I lay the groundwork of a theory of cultural change that can answer these questions. This theory guides my discussion of the Urapmin case in what follows. But it is worth pointing out up front that the relevance of these theoretical considerations extends well beyond the Urapmin case. Indeed, they pertain to issues that are or at least should be at the heart of the anthropology of globalization. Summing up a good deal of heat and even some light in recent anthropology, it might fairly be said that the discipline has of late been preoccupied with coming to grips with the possibility that the cultures it once thought of as discontinuous in space (and hence discrete) and continuous in time (and hence authentic and enduring) now appear to be becoming continuous in space (and hence interconnected) and discontinuous in time (and hence constantly hybridizing, sycretizing, creolizing, or, more generally, simply changing in one way or another).

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