On the Edge of the Global Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation
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Niko Besnier's illuminating ethnography explores the malaise present in the postcolonial Global South, focused on the island kingdom of Tonga. His work highlights the ways in which segments of this small-scale society hold on to different understandings of what modernity is, how it should be made relevant to local contexts, and how it should mesh with practices and symbols of tradition. Adopting a wide-angled perspective that brings together political, economic, cultural, and social concerns, Besnier argues that life in twenty-first-century Tonga is rife with uncertainties at odds with the appearance of stability and order conveyed by traditionalism. In the political realm, these uncertainties adopt a vocabulary of neo-traditionalism, democracy, neo-liberal economics, and citizenship. In Tongans' everyday lives, they take on a shape of a more mundane nature: how to make ends meet, how to pay lip service to tradition, and how to present a modern self without opening oneself to ridicule. Engaging with key issues in contemporary, Besnier's work is ideal for introductory and upper-division courses in social and cultural anthropology.
List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 3/2/2011
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
|Figures, Tables, Charts, and Maps|
|Note on Tongan Orthography and Transcription Conventions|
|Straddling the Edge of the Global|
|Consumption and Cosmopolitanism|
|When Gifts Become Commodities|
|Modern Bodies on the Runway|
|Coloring and Straightening|
|Shaping the Modern Body|
|Reconfiguring the Modern Christian|
|Conclusion: Sites of Modernity|