Dancing around Development: Crisis in Christian Country in Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Date

2002

Authors

Dundon, Alison

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Oceania Publications

Abstract

This article explores the conjuncture of Christianity and development in light of the establishment of a new Gogodala church in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. In the paper, I examine the ways in which members of this new church, the Congregation of Evangelical Fellowship (CEF), are utilising the concept of dance to comment on the failure of both expatriate missionaries and the dominant Evangelical Church of Papua New Guinea (ECPNG) to prepare the Gogodala community for development. I trace how mission-instigated abstention from dance became emblematic of a Christian lifestyle, and remains central to the constitution and articulation of 'Christian country' in this part of PNG. The incorporation of dance into CEF services and conferences, then, posits a challenge to the expatriate mission and ECPNG. In the process, dance has become a metaphor for a communal search for development as well as a reinterpretation of the Christian and pre-contact past.

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Oceania

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Journal article

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