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The Chief of the Chambri: Social Change and Cultural Permeability among a New Guinea People
Frederick Errington and Deborah Gewertz
Vol. 12, No. 3 (Aug., 1985), pp. 442-454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/644531
Page Count: 13
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Facing an environmental crisis wrought by the introduction of a South American aquatic fern, the Chambri of the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea have created a new social status, a "chief." In our explanation of the significance of this political innovation, we suggest that the arrival of the Europeans altered the Chambri understanding of the inherent restrictions in human life. The presence of the Europeans provided the Chambri with what they regarded as not only the solution to their immediate environmental crisis but to their basic cosmological contradiction, that between intensity of power and density of social life. [New Guinea, cultural change, political anthropology]
American Ethnologist © 1985 American Anthropological Association