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Laki Charms: 'Luck' and Personal Agency in North Mekeo Social Change

Mosko, Mark

Description

Notions and practices known by the Tok Pisin term laki ('lucky' or 'luck') have for long been widespread across Melanesia. Previous studies have tended to concentrate on laki as 'probabilistic chance' and on its secular (i.e., economic, political, recreational) expressions, most notably in card gambling. Drawing on the perspective of the New Melanesian Ethnography, I focus instead upon the magico-ritual dimensions of laki in a single Papua New Guinean society, North Mekeo, where laki has been...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMosko, Mark
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T22:12:33Z
dc.identifier.issn0155-977X
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/49713
dc.description.abstractNotions and practices known by the Tok Pisin term laki ('lucky' or 'luck') have for long been widespread across Melanesia. Previous studies have tended to concentrate on laki as 'probabilistic chance' and on its secular (i.e., economic, political, recreational) expressions, most notably in card gambling. Drawing on the perspective of the New Melanesian Ethnography, I focus instead upon the magico-ritual dimensions of laki in a single Papua New Guinean society, North Mekeo, where laki has been adapted to indigenous notions of 'dividual' personal agency that differ radically from exogenous ideas of success through 'pure chance'. On this evidence, I argue that the different perceptions of laki and 'luck' or 'lucky' by North Mekeo and Westerners are indicative of the divergent sorts of agency and sociality that are culturally compatible, respectively, with dividual and individual personhood.
dc.publisherUniversity of Adelaide
dc.sourceSocial Analysis
dc.subjectKeywords: Agency; Gambling; Laki; Melanesia; Personhood; Ritual practices; Social change; Sorcery
dc.titleLaki Charms: 'Luck' and Personal Agency in North Mekeo Social Change
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume56
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor160104 - Social and Cultural Anthropology
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9910377xPUB190
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationMosko, Mark, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage19
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage38
local.identifier.doi10.3167/sa.2012.560203
local.identifier.absseo959999 - Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T12:13:53Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84864100918
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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