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Just TalkGossip, Meetings, and Power in a Papua New Guinea Village$
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Karen Brison

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520077003

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520077003.001.0001

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Gossip, Innuendo, and Sorcery: Power Without Responsibility

Gossip, Innuendo, and Sorcery: Power Without Responsibility

(p.47) Chapter Three Gossip, Innuendo, and Sorcery: Power Without Responsibility
Just Talk

Karen J. Brison

University of California Press

This chapter argues that it is by spreading rumors and dropping hints about sorcery that initiated men maintain their authority over their fellow villagers. Furthermore, talking about sorcery allows people to influence events in ways for which they cannot be held accountable. The chapter argues that Inakor and Asanakor deaths are almost invariably attributed to assault sorcery, and that it is theoretically possible to die a natural death. However, it is felt that only very old people or very young babies could die from illness, and accidents are almost always considered to be disguised sorcery.

Keywords:   identity, murderer, rumors, sorcery, Inakor, Asanakor, deaths, illness, accidents

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