Placing Paamese : locating concerns with place, gender and movement in Vanuatu
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This is a study of coming to know what it is to be Paamese. The work seeks to present an anthropological understanding of ontological concerns that constitute a Paamese perception of subjectivities. I take my lead from Paamese perceptions that the internal capacities of subjects or “things” (e.g. persons, villages, islands, and movement itself) are revealed through relations with others. This correlates with anthropology’s methodology of testing its analytical strategies through the ethnographic practices of others in order to reach more accurate representations. Paamese, as is common elsewhere in Vanuatu and Melanesia, have an extremely fluid attitude towards sociality and easily accommodate urban dwelling without leaving Paama behind. I suggest that a nuanced multi-positioned approach in which several aspects of Paamese sociality are considered from a point of limitation employed by Paamese to focus an event, such as a marriage exchange, will present a better understanding of how these subjectivities, that is Paamese people and Paama Island, adhere such that they do not part company wherever they go. Paamese suggest that each event should be considered as if following a single branch in the canopy of a tree – a scalable perception that offers the promise that a multi-faceted approach will reveal a replicable form. I take this approach to specificity seriously and employ a looping aesthetic, measi, adapted from Paamese sand-drawing in order to consider the shifting concerns expressed by Paamese perceptions of out (place), āmal (agnatic clans), sise (road), vatte (origin), ara (blood) and asi (bone). I suggest that these, parts, can be considered together as a holography for how to come to know what it is to be Paamese.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2020-01-20
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic version restricted until 20th January 2020
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