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Chiefly Models in Papua New Guinea

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Title:Chiefly Models in Papua New Guinea
Authors:Scaglion, Richard
Keywords:Papua New Guinea
Austronesian languages
Papuan languages
show 2 moreleadership
legal development
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LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:1996
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:Scaglion, R. 1996. Chiefly Models in Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 8 (1): 1-31.
Abstract:There has been a resurgent interest in traditional "chiefs" in eastern Melanesia,
both as symbols of identity and power, and as agents for the facilitation and
legitimization of postcolonial reform. However Papua New Guinea seems to
have made relatively little use of such models of authority. This paper argues that
the distribution of Austronesian and non-Austronesian languages within Melanesia
helps account for this difference. Austronesian languages appear to be characterized
by what is called "a lexicon of hierarchy," in which concepts related to
chiefly models of authority are not uncommon, whereas non-Austronesian languages
generally lack such terms. Speakers of Austronesian languages predominate
in Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands, whereas nonAustronesian
languages predominate in Papua New Guinea. Chiefly models seem
to arise periodically in Papua New Guinea in Austronesian contexts, but are
rejected by non-Austronesian-speaking cultures when an attempt is made to
apply the models more broadly. Results have important implications for the practical
implementation of legal and political reform in contemporary Papua New
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1996 - Volume 8, Number 1

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