You Can’t Talk behind the Holy Spirit’s Back
Christianity and Changing Language Ideologies in a Papua New Guinea Society
This chapter begins with the claim that language ideologies stand in complex relationships to ideologies of material exchange. It argues that in Melanesia, contemporary changes in language ideology have been in important respects shaped by transformations in traditional ideologies of exchange. Among the Urapmin of Papua New Guinea, such linked changes have arisen in the wake of conversion to Christianity. Changes in linguistic and exchange ideologies have come to the fore in debates over the practice of charismatic Christian rituals of Holy Spirit possession. This chapter analyzes these rituals and the debates that surround them to show how these transformations have come about.
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