Drug Bodies: Relations with Substance in the Wau Bulolo Valley (Marijuana‪)‬

Oceania 2006, Nov, 76, 3

    • 79,00 Kč
    • 79,00 Kč

Publisher Description

Over the past two decades, marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has become a significant element in the lives of many Papua New Guineans (Halvaksz 2006a, Halvaksz forthcoming; Iamo et al. 1991; Ivarature 2000; McDonald 2005; McDonald and Winmarang 1999 and Thomas 2000). Illegal, but lucrative, its spread throughout the nation has meant that communities must confront its economic and physiological effects, not to mention issues of criminality. Needless to say, it presents a moral dilemma for youth and leaders alike raising questions about the role of the state in defining and controlling the circulation of such substances. While placing them in conflict with community leaders, young Biangai men find marijuana to be meaningful. Differentiated according to strength and color, and compared to plants once used by their ancestors, 'spak brus,' as it is locally called, (1) is attributed with properties that effect changes in social relations and personal efficacy. Furthermore, contrary to Strathern (1987), marijuana is now seen a substance capable of transforming the bodies of some of its users. This is particularly true in the emerging discourses of habitual use. In this paper, I will examine these competing discourses of marijuana as they emerge in the communities around Wau (Morobe Province, PNG). I consider the way in which this new commodity is becoming locally meaningful and is emerging as a powerful substance in the lives of young men and women. Its prominence in local discourse, I conclude, is as much a product of community-state relations as it is a product of the drug's physiological and economic impact.

GENRE
Non-Fiction
RELEASED
2006
1 November
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
24
Pages
PUBLISHER
University of Sydney
SIZE
193.4
KB

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