Description - Managing Animals in New Guinea by Paul Sillitoe
Managing Animals in New Guinea analyses the place of animals in the lives of New Guinea Highlanders. Looking at issues of zoological classification, hunting of wild animals and management of domesticated ones, notably pigs, it asks how natural parameters affect people's livelihood strategies and their relations with animals and the wider environment. To casual Western eyes, the farming and foraging practices of the Wola New Guinea highlanders seem strangely counter-productive. Attitudes to hunting are puzzling in their off-handedness and tolerance of low returns, while zoological taxonomies appear fractious and slippery. Perspectives on animal husbandry and management likewise subvert Western capitalist assumptions of scarcity and maximisation. Closer inspection of Wola practices, however, enables a greater understanding of their underlying cultural politics, and suggests a radical new application of exchange-theory to social and animal relations. For the Wola, many animals are not only good to eat but also to give away. Large animals such as pigs, tree kangaroos and cassowaries serve as wealth within an exchange-based social structure.
Paul Sillitoe's rigorously argued new book, combining expert academic knowledge with years of first-hand observation of New Guinea societies, seeks to explain the often perplexing values that underlie Wola relations with animals in the light of sustainability issues and social politics. Looking at linguistic, political, fiscal and gender behaviour, it considers how Wola hunting and farming methods make sense within the framework of an exchange-based society, where politics are transactional and dependent on compliance with an egalitarian social structure. At the same time, it challenges the ecological assumption that tropical forest resources can support human populations, putting the relative notion of hunter-gatherer affluence into an intriguing comparative context.
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(234mm x 156mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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Author Biography - Paul Sillitoe
Paul Sillitoe is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Durham and former Nuffield Fellow in Tropical Agriculture. He has worked extensively in Papua New Guinea. His previous books include Participating in Development (Routledge, 2002), Horticulture in Papua New Guinea (2002), Indigenous Knowledge Development in Bangladesh (2000) and A Place Against Time: Land and Environment in the Papua New Guinea Highlands (1996).