Materializing the Nation
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An ethnographic exploration of everyday nation making in Papua New Guinea.

"Foster shows us how seemingly banal activities like making a phone call, chewing betel nut, watching a Coke commercial may give important insights into the ways in which the nation is constructed, materialized or contested."—Orvar Löfgren, author of On Holiday: A History of Vacationing

Why, in the current era of globalization, does nationality remain an important dimension of personal and collective identities? In Materializing the Nation, Robert J. Foster argues that the contested process of nation making in Papua New Guinea unfolds not only through organized politics but also through mundane engagements with commodities and mass media. He offers a thoughtful critique of recent approaches to nationalism and consumption and an ethnographic perspective on constructs of the nation found in official policy documents, letters to the editor, school textbooks, song lyrics, advertisements, and other materials. This volume will appeal to readers interested in the links among nationalism, consumption, and media, in Melanesia and elsewhere.

Preliminary Table of Contents:

Introduction: Everyday Nation Making: The Case of Papua New Guinea
1. Take Care of Public Telephones: Moral Education and Nation-State Formation
2. Your Money, Our Money, the Government's Money: Finance and Fetishism in Melanesia
3. Print Advertisements and Nation Making
4. Commercial Mass Media: Notes on Agency, Bodies, and Commodity Consumption
5. The Commercial Construction of 'New' Nations
6. News of the World: Millenarian Christianity and the Olympic Torch Relay
7. Globalization: A Soft Drink Perspective



Publié par
Date de parution 24 octobre 2002
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253013613
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 7 Mo

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Materializing the Nation
Materializing the Nation
This book is a publication of
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© 2002 by Robert J. Foster
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No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses’ Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Foster, Robert John, date Materializing the nation : commodities, consumption, and media in Papua New Guinea / Robert J. Foster.  p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-253-34147-7 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 0-253-21549-8 (pbk.: alk. paper) 1. Anthropology—Papua New Guinea. 2. Ethnopsychology—Papua New Guinea. 3. Nationalism—Papua New Guinea. 4. Consumption (Economics)—Papua New Guinea. 5. Materialism—Social aspects—Papua New Guinea. I. Title. GN671.N5 F67 2002 305.8009953—dc2I 2002001480
1 2 3 4 5 07 06 05 04 03 02
For Andrew M. and Gregory R.
Acknowlepgments Intropuction: Everypay Nation Making: The Case of Paua New Guinea
Part I. State-Sponsored Nation Making
1Take Care of Public Telehones: Moral Epucation anp Nation-State Formation
2Your Money, Our Money, the Government’s Money: Finance anp Fetishism in Melanesia
Part II. Commercial Nation Making
3Print Apvertisements anp Nation Making
4Commercial Mass Mepia: Notes on Agency, Bopies, anp Commopity Consumtion
5The Commercial Construction of “New” Nations
Part III. Nation Making in This Era of Globalization
6News of the Worlp: Millenarian Christianity anp the Olymic Torch Relay
7Globalization: A Soft Drink Persective
Notes References Inpex
Almost all the chapters in this book originateB as conference papers; the last chapter began as a seminar given to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago anB subsequently given at other universities. I thank the auBiences at these various presentations for their interest anB comments. I also thank the inBiviBual organizers who generously inviteB me to participate in their conferences, especially Patricia Spyer anB AnBers LinBe-Laursen. Martha Kaplan anB John Kelly, olB frienBs anB supportive colleagues, inviteB me to present the paper that becamechapter 6a plenary session organizeB by Marshall Sahlins anB in sponsoreB by the Wenner-Gren FounBation for Anthropological Research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory (LonBon, Ontario) in October 2000. In previously publishing some of these chapters, I have benefiteB from the careful suggestions of several journal eBitors anB anonymous reviewers anB from the thoughtful remarks of James Carrier, Nicholas Thomas, AnBrew Strathern, Orvar Löfgren, Scott MacWilliam, Dan Jorgensen, John MacAloon, Mark usse, anB ClauBia Gross. Deborah Gewertz Beserves special thanks for her incisive comments on many occasions. Mark usse anB ClauBia Gross proviBeB me with not only important insights, but also frienBship anB a home Buring two visits to Port Moresby. I have similarly enjoyeB, in Papua New Guinea (PNG) anB Australia, the lively conversation anB gracious hospitality of Deborah Gewertz anB FreBerick Errington, Scott MacWilliam, Margaret Jolly, Nicholas Thomas, AnBrew Lattas, Lise McKean, RicharB Eves, anB Roe Sybylla. I am grateful to all the people working in commercial meBia anB aBvertising in PNG who gave me their time anB consiBeration, especially AnBrew Johnston anB his staff at Pacific View ProBuctions, anB John Taylor, former chief executive of EM TV. I also thank Anna Solomon, Phil Sawyer, Steve LanBon, RicharB Dellman, anB Sorariba Nash for sharing their views with me. For institutional support, I owe a Bebt of gratituBe to both the Institute of Papua New Guinea StuBies anB the PNG National Research Institute for making my research possible. Wari Iamo, Don Niles, Colin Filer, anB Michael Laki have been particularly helpful. I also thank the resourceful anB welcoming staff of the Department of Anthropology at the Research School of Pacific anB Asian StuBies, Australian National University, where I have twice been a visiting fellow. DaviB Robie, former heaB of the journalism program at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), anB a group of stuBents in that program assisteB my research in crucial ways. Linus Bigim’Rina, heaB of the Department of Anthropology anB Sociology at UPNG, anB aulon Maibala have also offereB generous support, which I gratefully acknowleBge. For material aiB, I thank the Center for International StuBies, University of Chicago; the Australian-American EBucational FounBation; the American Council of LearneB Societies; the University of Rochester; anB the Spencer FounBation. I especially thank the National EnBowment for the Humanities, which has been a stalwart supporter of my research projects over the last ten years. In preparing this book, I have receiveB superb eBitorial guiBance from Rebecca Tolen of InBiana University Press, whose confiBence anB encouragement I greatly appreciate. For permission to reproBuce illustrations anB photographs, I thank the PNG Department of EBucation; the ank of PNG; PepsiCo, Inc.; Coca-Cola HolBings (Overseas) LimiteB;The Coca-Cola Company; (PNG)Post-Courier, Anna Solomon anB WorB Publishing Company; the
late Maslyn Williams; Michael O’Hanlon; anB Holly WarBlow. Throughout the book, I have italicizeB the registereB traBemarks of PepsiCo, Inc. anB The Coca-Cola Company as per agreement with their owners. Five of the chapters in this book were previously publisheB elsewhere: Chapter 1, “Take Care of Public Telephones: Moral EBucation anB Nation-State Formation in Papua New Guinea.”Public Culture4(2):131–45, 1992. ReproBuceB by permission of Duke University Press. Chapter 2, “Your Money, Our Money, the Government’s Money: Finance anB Fetishism in Melanesia.” InBorder Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Places, eBiteB by Patricia Spyer, 60–90. New York: RoutleBge, 1998. ReproBuceB by permission of RoutleBge Inc./Taylor & Francis. Chapter 3, “Nation Making anB Print ABvertisements in Metropolitan Papua New Guinea.” In Nation Making: Emergent Identities in Postcolonial Melanesia, eBiteB by Robert J. Foster, 151–81. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995. ReproBuceB by permission of the University of Michigan Press. Chapter 4, “Commercial Mass MeBia in Papua New Guinea: Notes on Agency, oBies, anB CommoBity Consumption.”Visual Anthropology Review12(2): 1–17, 1996–1997. ReproBuceB by permission of the American Anthropological Association. Chapter 5, “The Commercial Construction of ‘New’ Nations.”Journal of Material Culture 4(3):263–82, 1999. ReproBuceB by permission of Sage Publications.
Finally, I thank Nancy Foster for her many gifts, which incluBe countless contributions to this book in matters of style anB substance, patience anB love.
Materializing the Nation
Introduction Everyday Nation Making: The Case of Papua New Guinea
Acrossthe humanities and social sciences, over the last twenty years, scholars have rekindled their interest in the subject of nations and nationalism. Their motivation springs not only from the new exigencies of post-cold war politics, but also from a spate of new responses to Ernest Renan’s old question: What is a nation? Anthropologists, in particular, have welcomed fresh opportunities for treating nations as cultural artifacts, contingent outcomes of social and historical processes variously characterized as imagination, invention, or narration. At the same time, renewed interest in nation making has converged with growing concern inside and outside the academy over globalization, a term loosely used to name the rapid circulation of people and money, images and ideas, through complicated networks of almost planetary scope (see Foster 1991 for a review). Two related questions thus continue to attract broad attention. By what ways and means, agents and agencies, have nations been made, remade, and unmade? And what possibilities for making nations have been opened up and shut down by the shifting and uneven effects of intensifying globalization? This book ought to be read against the background of these questions. Because each chapter derives from ethnographic and historical research focused on Papua New Guinea (PNG)—a place associated more with the anthropology of gift exchange and esoteric ritual than of nations and nationalism—other, narrower questions naturally arise. Nevertheless, I orient the analysis of ethnographic and historical details toward a more general inquiry. What might be learned about how nation making works—and does not work—by studying its particular and emergent manifestations on the margins of both the international state and world capitalist systems? Why, in a globalizing world, do people anywhere come to see themselves, for better or worse, as deeply implicated in a nation that they may or may not want? In this book, I consider how state officials and corporate executives, university students and office workers, among others, struggle over and use commodity consumption and commercial media in defining and promoting political community and collective identity in national (and sometimes transnational) terms. “Commodity consumption” here refers to a variety of everyday practices that include chewing betel nut and adding sugar to instant coffee. “Commercial media” here refers mainly to the mass media of newspaper and television, especially advertisements, and secondarily to other forms of media, including state-issued money and state-sponsored public cultural performances such as the Olympic Torch Relay. The chapters together demonstrate how nation making unfolds not only (perhaps not even primarily) through organized programs of political socialization, but also through mundane engagements with radio talk show programs and commodities ranging from locally made tinned meat to globally marketed soft drinks. In other words, the book demonstrates how “the nation” materializes in the form of media images and consumer goods, and thus how national culture in PNG takes shape, to the extent that it does, in conjunction with the spread of both new media technologies and new arenas for commodity consumption. In so doing, I argue, the book says something about the nature of everyday nation making, now and in the past, in PNG and elsewhere. Besides looking at commodity consumption and commercial media as techniques and practices of nation making—the question of how—the chapters in this book also broach the larger and more elusive question of why: Why does “the nation” still (sometimes) loom large in the imagination of (some) people? The questions of how and why are not, of course, always
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