Yabar pp 101-134 | Cite as

Folk Theater and the Signifier

  • David Lipset
Part of the Culture, Mind, and Society book series (CMAS)


Murik men used to be the leading impresarios of the most valued of all regional goods in the Sepik/Northcoast region. They specialized in the trade of folk theater, or what Margaret Mead called “dance-complexes,” to local-level leaders. One of the important male voices in the 1990s and the new millennium expressed itself in terms of this very practice—that of theatrical representation and performance. A new piece of Murik folk theater emerged in the early 1990s. It appeared in a dream to its “author,” and was then exchanged with hereditary Murik trading partners and performed at national celebrations in town in subsequent years. The piece did not merely extend the regional renown of Murik men. Borrowing several concepts from Lacanian psychoanalysis, ethnography of the show reveals further expressions of men’s alienation from both Murik culture as well as modernity in PNG.


Musical Genre Folk Theater Male Cult Shell Ornament Ceremonial Exchange 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Lipset
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Minnesota Twin CitiesSt PaulUSA

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