Ashgate (October 2004)
Modern anthropologists, unlike their classical predecessors, have observed Australian Aborigines in the field, rather than from the study. None, however, has spent as long as David McKnight in a single community. During a period of 35 years, involving some 20 fieldtrips, he has lived with the Mornington Islanders of northern Queensland for over five years.
This intellectual tour de force combines dense ethnography about Australian kinship and marriage - the heart of their world - with major anthropological debate about theories of kinship. It thereby provides a unique an important contribution to kinship studies.
David McKnight shows how young Aborigines became increasingly determined to marry according to their own inclinations, defying the authority of the elders, who accused them of 'going the Whiteman's way'.
David McKnight is on the emeritus staff of the Department of Anthropology, LSE.
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