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At Home and in the FieldEthnographic Encounters in Asia and the Pacific Islands$
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Suzanne S. Finney, Mary Mostafanezhad, Guido Carlo Pigliasco, and Forrest Wade Young

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824847593

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824847593.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 18 October 2021

Digitalizing the Wantok System in West Papua

Digitalizing the Wantok System in West Papua

(p.240) Digitalizing the Wantok System in West Papua
At Home and in the Field

James Stiefvater

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter takes place in the grounds of West Papuan refugee camps in Papua New Guinea and online in their transnational virtual communities. It asserts that digital technology, especially social media, is changing the way West Papuans resist, and may be the key to helping them realize the goal of political independence from Indonesia. In addition, the adoption of communication technologies now allows for researchers to get access to information and interlocutors that would be much more difficult if they were to try to physically enter West Papua, in a new form of fieldwork categorized as “digital ethnography.” Thus this chapter brings together digital ethnography and the West Papuans' wantok system—which refers to one's ability to speak the same language as another—in order to illustrate a matrix for doing ethnographic and other forms of fieldwork ex situ.

Keywords:   digital ethnography, social media, digital social networks, Papua New Guinea, West Papuans, transnational communities, digital technology, political independence, wantok system

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