By Joel Robbins
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Additional info for Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4)
So important are these forest activities to the Urapmin that much of the time they do not live in their village houses (am) but in bush houses (sep am) that they build near their gardens and hunting grounds. These houses can be almost as elaborate as village houses, and they provide a physical index of how important forest life is to the Urapmin. From a social structural point of view, what is most striking about how the Urapmin come together in villages and how they cooperate to use the forest is that very little in these regards is determined by kinship links.
Urapmin villages are in all cases clearly discrete entities and are understood as such. But almost all of them are within easy walking distance of one another, and the total area they cover is not great. The greatest distance is between the two outlying “side” villages—Makalbel in the south and Ayendubiip in the north—which are separated by a distance of about four and a half kilometers. But Makalbel is only a kilometer from Salafaltigin, and Ayendubiip is similarly close to Dimidubiip. Furthermore, if these two villages are ignored, any two villages of the central core of Urapmin are no more than two and a half kilometers apart.
Throughout the colonial period and during much of the postcolonial period, the Atbalmin, whose scattered settlements made it hard for the government to bring services to the majority of them, have remained even more peripheral to the modern order than the Urapmin. The Urapmin responded to Atbalmin marginality by reasserting their own religious importance in relation to them. As soon as the ﬁrst few younger Urapmin embraced Christianity (see below), many of them went to Atbalmin as missionaries.
Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Ethnographic Studies in Subjectivity, 4) by Joel Robbins