Exogenous Cultural Change in the Background of the Generational Change: The Case from Papua New Guinea

Journal / Conference: Slovak Ethnology
Authors: Martin Soukup, Jan D. Bláha
Year: 2019
Number: 2
Category of Publication: Article in Journal
Pages, web: 216–230
Keywords: generation gap, Papua New Guinea, cultural change, colonialism, christianity, education, Chinese influence
RIV: DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/se-2019-0012
Link to full version: https://www.sav.sk/journals/uploads/061014090012_Soukup_Blaha_final.pdf
Abstract: An analysis of cultural change and generation gaps in the local community of the Nungon ethnic group in the state of Papua New Guinea will be the subject of the study. This ethnic group came into contact with Europeans for the first time in the mid-1930s. The pace of cultural changes within the community has been gradually increasing. For example, the local animistic cult has been replaced with Christianity, school attendance has been introduced in the villages of Nungon, travel opportunities have become more accessible, and as the mobile signal has recently been introduced, Nungon residents can now connect to the internet and access information about the globalised world. Those who remember the colonial period still live in the community and many of them are still illiterate, with only limited knowledge of Pidgin English, the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea. On the other hand, the youngest generation can study in cities or experiment with social media and share information there. The aim of the paper is not only to show intergenerational differences, but also to document the local history and its ties to particular generations and show the role the generational memory played in illiterate societies with unwritten history. The only existing written and photographic documents were created by colonial officers. The study will show the transformation of the Nungon community from the time of photographs kept in boxes to the youngest generation, which keeps photographs in mobile phones and shares them on social media.
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