Debra McDougall (Senior Lecturer, Anthropology and Sociology, UWA School of Social Sciences) has written a new book, Engaging with Strangers: Love and Violence in the Rural Solomon Islands (Volume 6, ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology Series, Berghahn Books). This ethnographic study draws on more than two and a half years of field research carried out over the span of more than a decade. Writing primarily of the lives of people of Ranongga Island in the western Solomons, McDougall tracks engagements with strangers across many realms of life—pre-colonial warfare, Christian conversion, logging and conservation, even post-conflict state building. She describes startling reversals in which strangers become attached to local places, even as kinspeople are estranged from one another and from their homes. Against stereotypes of rural insularity, she argues that a distinctive cosmopolitan openness to others is evident in the lives of ordinary citizens, not only in times of peace but also in the midst of the Ethnic Tensions of 1998-2003.
The book’s introduction is available on the publisher’s website here: : http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=McDougallEngaging
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Karen Eichorn (School of Social Sciences) (+618) 64887249