The Kaluli People of Papua New Guinea in the Book, The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers by E.L. Schieffelin

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The, “Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers”, is a ethnography written by anthropologist Edward Schieffelin, derived from his fieldwork with the Kaluli people of Papua New Guinea. The main focus of the book of the book is how many of the fundamental notions that are implicit in Kaluli culture are found in the Gisaro ceremony, which Schieffelin uses as, “a lens through which to view some of the fundamental issues of Kaluli life and society” (p1). The first chapter gives a brief account of the Gisaro ceremony, where a group of singers and dancers from one longhouse community, or aa, perform at another aa. What makes the ceremony so interesting is that the performance of the dancers and singers is tailored to provoke strong emotions of sorrow amongst the host audience, who in response will burn the dancers across the back and shoulders with resin torches. The ceremony clearly fascinated Schieffelin, and translates through his writing, as his his description of the Gisaro paints a vivid picture which allows the reader to share his fascination as well. The following chapters look at different aspects of Kaluli everyday life. Schieffelin himself asserts that he does not approach the study of Kaluli society and culture from a structural perspective, but is instead is more interested in how social relationships and cultural ideas are expressed and conceived through everyday life. This approach, personally, is much more interesting as it allows Schieffelin to delve

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