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Open Access Publications from the University of California

"God Has Given His Talk": Moral Responsibility Among the Gebusi of Papua New Guinea

  • Author(s): Fink, Janel Kozlowski
  • et al.

The Gebusi of Papua New Guinea are recent converts to Christianity. Conversion has reshaped and transformed aspects of traditional life while introducing new belief systems and ̀modern' ways of life across Papua New Guinea. In the early 1980's direct exchange, sorcery attribution and retribution, and a rich cosmological belief system are the center of the Gebusi's collective way of life. However, conversion to Christianity reshaped and transformed many of these areas of Gebusi life, while also introducing new concepts and systems. An area that has been significantly reshaped is that of morality. Morality is not only the following of collectively sanctioned rules but also a conscious domain of choice. Using Evans-Pritchard, Gluckman, and Robbins' models on morality, I aim to demonstrate that in the transition from traditional life to Christianity and modernity, the value system of the Gebusi changed, effectively shifting morality from a collective responsibility to an individual responsibility.

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