This accessible and pioneering study of social class in contemporary Papua New Guinea deals with the new elite, its culture and its institutions, and its relationship to the broader society. The Papua New Guinea described here is not a place of exotic tribesmen, but a modernising society, shaped by global forces, and increasingly divided on class lines. The authors describes the life-style of the elite Wewak, a typical commercial centre, their golf clubs and Rotary gatherings, and bring home the ways in which differences of status are created, experienced and justified. In a country with a long tradition of egalitarianism, it has become at once possible and plausible for relatively affluent 'nationals' to present themselves in a wide range of contexts as fundamentally superior to 'bushy' people, to blame the poor for their misfortunes, and to turn their backs on their less successful relatives.
"Gewertz and Errington have written a very valuable study of how a middle class is being formed among the people of Papua New Guinea under contemporary conditions of globalization." Choice "It is refreshing to see ethnographic data that actually confront an issue in PNG that nearly all of us who work there know has occurred, but which almost no anthropologist has taken seriously. For that reason alone, this book would be most welcome, but i has many other contributions to make as well. This important book is readable and provocative. Many will find it suitable for both undergraduate and graduate courses on development, modernization, and globalization, as well as for Oceania courses. Its firm base in Chambri ehtnography gives it a grounding that will be hard to find elsewhere." Anthropoligical Quarterly "...this is a valuable book of immediate relevance. It has important things to say about and to the people of Papua New Guinea and a message about the larger question of class. I hope it inspires vigorous discussion and additional research on this vital issue." The Contemporary Pacific, Michael French Smith, LTG Associates