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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

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

John Mansfield

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824867966.003.0007

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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