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Title: Social Segmentation, Voting, and Violence in Papua New Guinea 
Author: Rumsey, Alan
Date: 1999
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Rumsey, A. 1999. Social Segmentation, Voting, and Violence in Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 11 (2): 305-33.
Abstract: Over the past quarter century there has been a resurgence of warfare in the New
Guinea Highlands. Much of this warfare and other violence has occurred at the
interface between electoral politics and more "traditional" forms of segmentary
social organization: tribes, clans, and the like. It has been seen by some scholars
as a matter of "upward colonization," whereby local political traditions have
penetrated the state. Although this view is illuminating, it has its limits: in practice,
state and local forms of politics cannot be articulated with each other without
having a substantial impact on both. Here I illustrate this ethnographically,
drawing on case materials from the Ku Waru region, Western Highlands
Province. Tracing the history of marital and ceremonial exchange relations
between two Ku Waru groups over the past two generations, I show how an
emerging alliance between them was undermined by a conflict of interest over
the 1992 national election. Although such conflicts could never be avoided altogether,
I argue that they could be reduced by a change from the present first-past-the-
post voting system to a preferential system.
ISSN: 1043-898X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/13288
Keywords: Papua New Guinea, politics, segmentary groups, violence, voting
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.

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