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People and Change in Indigenous Australia$
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Diane Austin-Broos and Francesca Merlan

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867966

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867966.001.0001

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Murrinhpatha Personhood, Other Humans, and Contemporary Youth

Murrinhpatha Personhood, Other Humans, and Contemporary Youth

(p.117) Chapter 6 Murrinhpatha Personhood, Other Humans, and Contemporary Youth
People and Change in Indigenous Australia

John Mansfield

University of Hawai'i Press

The traditional Murrinhpatha conception of personhood is similar to what has been observed in other Australian Aboriginal societies, conceiving of the self as a node in a relational network of kinship. But since town settlement, traditional social roles have been radically reconfigured, with a series of economic and ideological factors conspiring to deprecate the role of young men. Murrinhpatha youth respond by embracing a rebellious sub-cultural identity, drawing on mass-media sources to re-imagine themselves as other types of persons. The Murrinhpatha language makes this re-imagining of personhood unusually explicit, since it uses separate grammatical categories to encode socially recognised “persons” versus other animate beings.

Keywords:   intercultural contact, subculture, social identity, youth, cross-cultural semantics

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