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Type: Book chapter
Title: 'Dancing for joy': gender and relational spaces in Papua New Guinea
Author: Dundon, A.
Citation: Emotions, Senses, Spaces: Ethnographic Engagements and Intersections, 2016 / Hemer, S., Dundon, A. (ed./s), Ch.2, pp.17-30
Publisher: University of Adelaide Press
Publisher Place: Adelaide, South Australia
Issue Date: 2016
ISBN: 1925261263
Editor: Hemer, S.
Dundon, A.
Statement of
Alison Dundon
Abstract: Among the Gogodala of Papua New Guinea, a predominantly rural population in the Western Province, dance is a site of considerable emotion. Owama gi - 'dancing for joy' - is particularly so, a seemingly spontaneous series of sensuous movements through which women express both pleasure and pride in the beauty and ability of their male kin as well as the efficacy of their own webs of relatedness. Women express their compulsion to dance at these occasions in terms of expressions like 'you cannot help yourself'. In this chapter, I examine the performance of owama gi as the sensual and embodied generation of what I refer to as relational space, in which happiness, pride and pleasure in relationships between women and their children, fathers, uncles and brothers are elicited and appreciated. At the same time, dancing for joy is an overtly public performance of the central role that women play in the lives and achievements of their kin. I analyse the ways in which, although understood as spontaneous expressions of pleasure and joy, such dances and the behaviour of those who perform them are highly proscribed. The chapter seeks to contribute to an analysis of the substantive connection between space, sensory experience and human emotions through an exploration of the ways in which the senses and emotions both generate, and are generated by, certain kinds of gendered relationships and performative spaces.
Rights: © 2016 The Contributors. This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA. This licence allows for the copying, distribution, display and performance of mis work for non-commercial purposes providing the work is clearly attributed to the copyright holders. Address all inquiries to the Director at the above address.
DOI: 10.20851/emotions-02
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Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications
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