Advertisement

Human Ecology

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 21–49 | Cite as

Land tenure and transfer in Chimbu, Papua New Guinea: 1958–1984—A study in continuity and change, accommodation and opportunism

  • Paula Brown
  • Harold Brookfield
  • Robin Grau
Article

Abstract

A long-term study of land tenure, land transfer, and succession in one subclan of the Chimbu in the Papua New Guinea highlands takes up the relations between the agricultural cycle, family, and population growth in a period of rapid commercialization and cash cropping. Over a generation, land was held and allocated within families, among families within the subclan, and to kin and affines in neighboring groups. The land tenure, ownership, and use system allows for a very great deal of individual movement and land gifts, temporary or long-term, by land owner to kin and friends. Despite an agnatic ideology, individuals and local groups opportunistically accommodate to land needs. As cultivation becomes more intensive and semi-permanent, there appears to be a progression from fluidity of land rights in the clan or subclan to anchoring of rights and boundaries to individuals and families. It is suggested that this characterizes Chimbu land tenure; it is not a postcolonial phenomenon.

Key words

land tenure land transfer Papua New Guinea highlands agricultural system 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, B. J. (1989). Frost and drought through space and time, Part I: The climatological record.Mountain Research and Development 9 (Special issue on frost and drought in the highlands of Papua New Guinea): 252–278.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, B. J., and Crittenden, R. (1987). Degradation and a pre-capitalist political economy: The case of the New Guinea highlands. In Blaikie, P. M., and Brookfield, H. C. (with contributions by others) (eds.),Land Degradation and Society. Methuen, London and New York, pp. 145–156.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, B. J., Brookfield, H. C., and Byron, Y. (1989). Frost and drought through space and time, Part II: The written, oral and proxy records and their meaning.Mountain Research and Development 9 (Special issue on frost and drought in the highlands of Papua New Guinea): 279–305.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, M. (1971). Descent groups and ecology among the Nduindui, New Hebrides. In Hiatt, L. R., and Jayawardene, C. (eds.),Anthropology in Oceania. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, pp. 1–15.Google Scholar
  5. Boserup, E. (1965).The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure. Aldine, Chicago.Google Scholar
  6. Boserup, E. (1981).Population and Technological Change. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  7. Bourke, R. M. (1988).Taim Hangre: Variation in Subsistence Food Supply in the Papua New Guinea Highlands. Unpublished doctoral dissertation in Human Geography, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  8. Bourke, R. M. (1989). Influence of soil moisture extremes on sweet potato yield in the Papua New Guinea highlands.Mountain Research and Development 9 (Special issue on frost and drought in the highlands of Papua New Guinea): 322–328.Google Scholar
  9. Brookfield, H. C. (1966). The Chimbu: A highland people in New Guinea. In Eyre, S. R., and Jones, G. R. J. (eds.),Geography as Human Ecology: Methodology by Example. Edward Arnold, London, pp. 174–198.Google Scholar
  10. Brookfield, H. C. (1968). The money that grows on trees: The consequences of an innovation within a man-environment system (Presidential address).Australian Geographical Studies 6: 97–119.Google Scholar
  11. Brookfield, H. C. (1973). Full circle in Chimbu: A study of trends and cycles. In Brookfield, H. C. (ed.),The Pacific in Transition: Geographical Perspectives on Adaptation and Change. Arnold, London, and Australian National University, Canberra, pp. 127–160.Google Scholar
  12. Brookfield, H. C., and Brown, P. (1963).Struggle for Land: Agriculture and Group Territories among the Chimbu of the New Guinea Highlands. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  13. Brown, P. (1972).The Chimbu: A Study of Change in the New Guinea Highlands. Schenkman, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  14. Brown, P. (1979). Change and the boundaries of systems in highland New Guinea. In Burnham, P., and Ellen, R. (eds.),Social and Ecological Systems. Academic Press, London, pp. 135–151.Google Scholar
  15. Brown, P. (1984). Long-term research. In Ellen, R. F. (ed.),Ethnographic Research: A Guide to General Conduct. Academic Press, London, pp. 241–247.Google Scholar
  16. Brown, P. (1987a). New men and big men: Emerging social stratification in the third world, a case study from the New Guinea highlands.Ethnology 28: 87–106.Google Scholar
  17. Brown, P. (1987b). From birth hut to disco.Bikmaus 7(1): 15–24.Google Scholar
  18. Brown, P., and Brookfield, H. C. (1959). Chimbu land and society.Oceania 30: 1–75.Google Scholar
  19. Brown, P., and Brookfield, H. C. (1967). Chimbu settlement and residence: A study of patterns, trends and idiosyncracy.Pacific Viewpoint 8: 119–151.Google Scholar
  20. Chayanov, A. V. (1966). In Thorner, D., Kerblay, B., and Smith, R. E. F. (eds.),The Theory of Peasant Economy. Irwin, for the American Economic Association, Homewood, Illinois.Google Scholar
  21. deLepervanche, M. (1967–1968). Descent, residence, and leadership in the New Guinea highlands.Oceania 38: 134–158, 163–189.Google Scholar
  22. Drucker, C. (1977). To inherit the land: Descent and decision in northern Luzon.Ethnology 16: 1–21.Google Scholar
  23. Engels, F. (1940).Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Translated by A. West and D. Torr). Current Book Distributors, Sydney.Google Scholar
  24. Feil, D. (1987).The Evolution of Highland Papua New Guinea Societies. University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  25. Fortes, M. (1958). Introduction. In Goody, J. (ed.),The Developmental Cycle in Domestic Groups. Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology No. 1., Cambridge.Google Scholar
  26. Foster, G. M., Scudder, T., Colson, E., and Kemper, R. V. (eds.) (1979).Long-Term Field Research in Social Anthropology. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  27. France, P. (1969).The Charter of the Land: Custom and Colonization in Fiji. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  28. Gregory, C. A. (1982).Gifts and Commodities. Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  29. Guillet, D. (1981). Land tenure, ecological zone, and agricultural regime in the central Andes.American Anthropologist 8: 139–156.Google Scholar
  30. Hide, R. L. (1981). Aspects of Pig Production and Use in Colonial Sinasina, Papua New Guinea. Unpublished doctoral dissertation in Anthropology, Columbia University, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Leach, E. R. (1961).Pul Eliya, A Village in Ceylon: A Study of Land Tenure and Kinship. University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  32. Lim, T-G. (1977).Peasants and Their Agricultural Economy in Colonial Malaya, 1874–1941. Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur.Google Scholar
  33. Marx, K. (1964).Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations (Translated from German by J. Cohen, with an Introduction by E. J. Hobsbawm). International Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  34. McCay, B., and Acheson, J. M. (1987). The human ecology of the commons. In McCay, B., and Acheson, J. M. (eds.),The Question of the Commons: The Culture and Ecology of Communal Resources. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp. 1–34.Google Scholar
  35. Meggitt, M. J. (1965).The Lineage System of the Mae Enga of New Guinea. Barnes and Noble, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Morgan, L. H. (1910).Ancient Society. C.H. Kerr, Chicago.Google Scholar
  37. Nilles, J. (1977). Simbu ancestors.Catalyst 7: 163–190.Google Scholar
  38. O'Hanlon, M. (1989).Reading the Skin. British Museum, London.Google Scholar
  39. Sahlins, M. (1974).Stone Age Economics. Tavistock, London.Google Scholar
  40. Vial, L. G., Noakes, L. C, and Skinner, R. (1938). Map of Chimbu Tribes (unpublished).Google Scholar
  41. Waddell, E. (1972).The Mound Builders: Agricultural Practices, Environment and Society in the Central Highlands of New Guinea. University of Washington Press, Seattle.Google Scholar
  42. Waddell, E. (1989). Observations on the 1972 frosts and subsequent relief programme among the Enga of the Western Highlands.Mountain Research and Development 9 (Special issue on frost and drought in the highlands of Papua New Guinea): 210–232.Google Scholar
  43. Wohlt, P. (1989). Migration from Yumbisa, 1972–1975.Mountain Research and Development 9 (Special issue on frost and drought in the highlands of Papua New Guinea): 224–234.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Brown
    • 1
  • Harold Brookfield
    • 2
  • Robin Grau
    • 2
  1. 1.State University of New York at Stony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Research School of Pacific StudiesAustralian National UniversityAustralia

Personalised recommendations