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Pacific Perspectives: Studies of the European Society for Oceanists
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Projects, Politics and Interests
Edited by Will Rollason
256 pages, 2 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78238-350-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2014)
eISBN 978-1-78238-351-2 eBook
“Overall, the essays are well-written, structured, referenced, detailed and reveal instances of Pacific life not well known or previously published, and this makes Pacific Futures a useful addition to any library of fieldwork reports theoretical pieces and general anthropology works.” · Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies
“The plural ‘futures’ of the book’s title highlights the value of ethnographic research into the diversity of projects of Oceanic peoples, but also the indeterminacy and weakness of future as a singular or abstract analytical concept. But in their deliberate break from the slippages of dominant temporal tropes consigning people to a traditional past, or to a Western present, the authors of this collection make an important step forward, by allowing Pacific people to articulate their aspirations in their own terms.” · Pacific Affairs
“Pacific Futures is a welcome book with a timely message for anthropology, told in many worthy ethnographies. The best news, perhaps, is that a future-aware anthropology does not sound so foreign to mainstream anthropology; the field can integrate and develop this line of thought without jarring change to our disciplinary perspective. In fact, I would argue that anthropology has been conscious of its own future for some time, so a future-conscious ethnographic and theoretical practice is entirely consistent with where the discipline is going in its own future.” · Anthropology Review Database
“This book makes an important contribution to studies of the Pacific Island nations and societies by asking scholars to demonstrate how the activities of Pacific Islanders can be better understood by analysing the future as a field of possibility, action, and hopes.” · Karen Sykes, Manchester University
The Pacific region presents a huge diversity of cultural forms, which have fuelled some of the most challenging ethnographic work undertaken in the discipline. But this challenge has come at a cost. Culture, often reconfigured as ‘custom’, has often served to trap the people of the Pacific in the past of cultural reproduction, where everything is what it has always been, or worse—outdated, outmoded and destined for modernization.
Pacific Futures asks how our understanding of social life in the Pacific would be different if we approached it from the perspective of the futures which Pacific people dream of, predict or struggle to achieve, not the reproduction of cultural tradition. From Christianity to gambling, marriage to cargo cult, military coups to reflections on childhood fishing trips, the contributors to this volume show how Pacific people are actively shaping their lives with the future in mind.
Will Rollason is Lecturer in Anthropology at Brunel University, UK, having received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Manchester in 2008. He has published on mimesis, race, and the postcolony in Papua New Guinea in the context of sports, marine resource harvesting and clothing. His monograph, We are Playing Football, was published by Cambridge Scholars Press.