Women without qualities: Further courtship stories told by young Papua New Guinean men

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Abstract

A major sociological view of romance associates it with social structures that privilege the strategic solidarity of the husband-wife dyad. In stories of spouse-selection told by young men from the Murik Lakes in Papua New Guinea, representations of agency are organized by a Homeric chronotope in which actors are motivated by events and obstacles rather than inner desire. Although Murik culture has been subjected to important transformations in the twentieth century, its sociology and associated concept of the person have not given way to modern subjectivity. Among young men, the relationship of culture to modernity has not resulted in a psychological construction of spouse-selection. Attraction is not defined by romantic love but is rather set amid events that are fixed in the fore-grounds of specific times and exact locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-111
Number of pages19
JournalEthnology
Volume46
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007

Keywords

  • Bakhtin
  • Chronotopes
  • Masculinity
  • Modernity
  • Murik
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Romance
  • Sepik River

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