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Showing Signs of Violence: The Cultural Politics of a Twentieth-Century Headhunting Ritualby Kenneth M George
Synopses & Reviews
Showing Signs of Violence deals with the ceremonies of pangngae, a mock headhunt that lingers stubbornly at the center of political life in a marginal upland community in Sulawesi, Indonesia. No killing takes place in this ritual--no actual heads are taken--but its rhetoric of violence is unmistakable and real.
Kenneth M. George vividly details the rites of pangngae, from the headhunters' secret and predatory journey downriver to the week of public festivity that follows their exuberant return. He puts special emphasis on the songs, speeches, and liturgies of the headhunt and shows how this ritual is neither a relic form of primitive violence nor an obsolete discourse on the social horizons of a remote community. In fact, the themes, purposes, and circumstances of pangngae make it the most public and community-defining form of ceremonial violence for this small mountain enclave as it confronts the dilemmas presented by Indonesian modernity and state culture.
"A wonderful book, theoretically challenging, ethnographically rich, and exquisitely written."--Toby Alice Volkman, Ford Foundation
"Fascinating and compelling. . . . Examines with great subtlety the cultural construction of violence, and in putting forward a notion of 'political affect' moves beyond prevailing ideas of emotion in ways that have great significance for anthropology and other fields as well."--Benjamin Orlove, University of California, Davis
Includes bibliographical references (p. 309-326) and index.
About the Author
Kenneth M. George is Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology at Harvard University.
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