Fasu solidarity: a case study of kin networks, land tenure, and oil extraction in Kutubu, Papua New Guinea

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In the Fasu region of Papua New Guinea's fringe highlands, the oil extraction industry has imposed development values and the identification of corporate groups as beneficiary landowners. In response, Fasu males have tightened the boundaries of their agnatic descent groups to become exclusive patriunits. Cash royalties are incorporated into sociopolitical exchange, so the formation of exclusive kin groups allows males to expand social networks to other regions, whilst ensuring continuing wealth for future generations. Consequently, males are becoming isolated from pre–oil exchange networks, and females are becoming isolated within villages. In this article, I map the transition of Fasu kin networks from an ideology of descent to a dogma of descent and patrilineal solidarity, locating the transition in the symbolic codes that inform kin categories. I aim to highlight some consequences of “development” and to advance knowledge on the link between kinship and descent in a postcolonial, industry-dominated Papua New Guinea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Anthropologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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