The Gebusi: Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World by Bruce  Knauft
229 pages, $33.95 list
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The Gebusi
Lives Transformed in a Rainforest World
Fourth Edition
One of the most popular anthropological case studies published in the last two decades, the latest edition of The Gebusi incorporates important new fieldwork and includes Update sections at the end of individual chapters, bringing a riveting story fully up to date. Readers are welcomed into the lives of Papua New Guinea rainforest dwellers to witness a dramatic arc of cultural change and human transformation.

When Knauft first studied them, Gebusi practiced powerful spirit séances and sorcery divinations, held resplendent initiations that included distinctive sexual customs, and endured high rates of violence. Sixteen years later, he found them participating in market activity, schooling, government programs, and sports; performing their own popular music; and practicing Christianity. More recently, Gebusi have been battered by economic hardship and withdrawal of government services—but have admirably revitalized their culture and livelihood. Sustained by traditions, access to land and waterways, and a keen sense of humor and vitality, Gebusi exhibit resilience and dignity amid conditions of continuing uncertainty and change.

An absorbing, well-written, and humanistic account based on profound scholarship, The Gebusi, 4/E includes end-of-chapter Broader Connections that link Gebusi experiences to major anthropological topics—subsistence, kinship and marriage, politics, religion, gender and sexuality, ethnicity, nationalism, modernity, and the ethics of engaged and applied anthropology. Sixty photos, including twenty in a full-color insert, accentuate Knauft’s absorbing narrative. Callouts to new instructional videos recorded with Gebusi and to an extensive online image bank on the author’s website enrich the ethnography.
“My students love The Gebusi book and the stories of sorcery and coming of age. It illustrates so many core areas that I want to cover in my introductory courses—from language to rituals to globalization and change to religion. Knauft has written an amazingly broad book on one culture.” — Jessica Bodoh-Creed, California State University, Los Angeles

“I assign an ethnography of the students’ choice in my class. The Gebusi is one of the most popular because of its readability, the fascination of their traditions, and the carefully drawn relevance to our lives.” — Dorothy D. Wills, California State Polytechnic University

“This is a much-improved edition—easier to read, more photographs, and updated. It is among the most effective ethnographies I’ve used in forty years of teaching introductory cultural anthropology.” — Lawrence Breitborde, Knox College

“I appreciate Knauft’s narrative style. This makes his work accessible to students in introductory anthropology classes. It offers a good application of basic terms and concepts standard to an introductory course.” — Karen Stocker, California State University, Fullerton

“This book is integral to my class, a great companion to an introductory anthropology text. We come back to it over and over in class to illustrate concepts in the primary text. It is very relatable as Knauft is young when he first visits the Gebusi. I like the coverage of multiple time periods, and the availability of so much online material.” — Barbara Wolff, Montgomery College

“I think this is a fine piece of ethnographic research. It is rich because of the extended period of research, the depth of understanding on the part of the ethnographer, and importance of the group being studied. The narrative style humanizes the people as well as the ethnographic process.” — Marcella Mazzarelli, Massachusetts Bay Community College
Table of Contents
Introduction: In Search of Surprise
Broader Connections: Cultural Anthropology
PART ONE: 1980–1982
1. Friends in the Forest
Broader Connections: Fieldwork and Culture
2. Rhythms of Survival
Broader Connections: Subsistence, Health, and Language
3. Lives of Death
Broader Connections: Life Stories, Social Life, and “Doing Ethnography”
4. Getting Along with Kin and Killers
Broader Connections: Kinship, Marriage, and Social Organization
5. Spirits, Sex, and Celebration
Broader Connections: Sexuality and Gender
6. Ultimate Splendor
Broader Connections: Ritual Initiation and Life-Cycle Transitions
PART TWO: 1998
7. Time for Change: Yuway’s Sacred Decision
Broader Connections: Sociocultural and Religious Change
8. Pennies and Peanuts, Rugby and Radios
Broader Connections: Markets, Development, and Modern Aspirations
9. Mysterious Romance, Martial Choice
Broader Connections: Ethical Challenges, Agency, and “Companionate Marriage”
10. Sayu’s Dance and After
Broader Connections: Nationhood, Ethnicity, and Folklore
PART THREE: Three Decades of Cultural Change
11. Closer, Closer, Further Away: Revival and Independence
Broader Connections: Cultural Survival, Development, and Applied Anthropology
12. The Larger Future
Broader Connections: Globalization, Political Economy, and the Future of Culture