Melanesia is an area of cultural and ecological variety that has attracted anthropologists with diverse theoretical interests. However, the diversity of the region is tempered by recurrent patterns that represent local elaborations of common cultural themes. Investigation of these themes by ethnographers gives an underlying unity to Melanesian studies. The recent publications reviewed here recapitulate the history of ethnography in Melanesia. Books written by two missionaries follow a tradition of amateur ethnography that began in Melanesia during the last century. Contributions by professional anthropologists discuss topics considered in the 1950s and 1960s when the New Guinea Highlands were first studied intensively. These include cultural ecology, problems of social structure, and gender relations. Several of the studies make use of or refer to theoretical frameworks common at that time, while others approach familiar subject matter from new perspectives.

You do not currently have access to this content.