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Engaging with Strangers

Love and Violence in the Rural Solomon Islands

Debra McDougall

308 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-020-9 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (January 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-021-6 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“A thoughtful study of the tradition of migration, mixing, and encountering ‘the other’ on one’s shores—and of being ‘the other’ on someone else’s shores—offers a salutary critique of ‘tribalism’ and ‘descent groups’ in Oceania and a message of empathy for peoples around the world today who are pressed to welcome others or to seek welcome from others.” · Anthropology Review Database

“In this compelling and often entrancing ethnography, McDougall analyzes what she calls ‘stranger sociality’–that is, how the people of Ranongga, Solomon Islands have embraced and incorporated outsiders over the course of 200 years.” · Holly Wardlow, University of Toronto

“An excellent book. Its high quality is multifaceted, and it will be of great interest to a number of important audiences, most obviously anthropologists, historians, natural resources specialists, government policy-makers, NGO planners, and, importantly, Solomon Islanders... To my mind, this is the best ethnography to come out of the Western Solomons in a good long while.” · David Akin, managing editor of Comparative Studies in Society and History

The civil conflict in Solomon Islands (1998-2003) is often blamed on the failure of the nation-state to encompass culturally diverse and politically fragmented communities. Writing of Ranongga Island, the author tracks engagements with strangers across many realms of life—pre-colonial warfare, Christian conversion, logging and conservation, even post-conflict state building. She describes startling reversals in which strangers become attached to local places, even as kinspeople are estranged from one another and from their homes. Against stereotypes of rural insularity, she argues that a distinctive cosmopolitan openness to others is evident in the rural Solomons in times of war and peace.

Debra McDougall is Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia. She co-edited Christian Politics in Oceania with Matt Tomlinson (Berghahn, 2013) and has published chapters and articles on religion, politics, and sociality.

Series: Volume 6, ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology
Subject: General Anthropology Peace & Conflict Studies
Area: Asia-Pacific

LC: BF575.L8 M247 2016

BISAC: SOC008000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Ethnic Studies/General; SOC051000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Violence in Society; SOC026020 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology/Rural

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


List of Illustrations
Notes on Language, Orthography, and Names

Introduction: On Being a Stranger in a Hospitable Land

Chapter 1. Ethnicity, Insularity, and Hospitality
Chapter 2. Ranongga’s Shifting Ground
Chapter 3. Incorporating others in violent times
Chapter 4. Bringing the Gospel Ashore
Chapter 5. No love? Dilemmas of Possession
Chapter 6. Estranging Kin: Contests over Tribal Ownership
Chapter 7. Losing passports: Mobility, Urbanization, Ethnicity

Conclusion: Amity and Enmity in an Unreliable State


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