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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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Two Models of Government

Two Models of Government

(p.181) Chapter Eight Two Models of Government
Just Talk

Karen J. Brison

University of California Press

This chapter explores Inakor and Asanakor people's ideas about how their “government” differs from that of white men, and also investigates the villagers' frustration at their apparent inability to emulate Europeans. Kwanga meetings often contain a great deal of talk about the correct way to conduct a discussion. An examination of this “meta-commentary” reveals an ongoing debate about the merits of two models of social control and power in politics, one associated with tradition and the other with the colonial administration of Australia and the new national government. Local speakers seem to think that what distinguishes the new and old ways of doing things the most is the kind of talk associated with each. The old ways are associated with gossip and innuendo, whereas under the new law, one should speak straightforwardly and reveal everything that one knows.

Keywords:   Inakor, Asanakor, government, Europeans, Kwanga, control, politics, Australia, gossip, innuendo

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