It is Christ or corruption in Papua New Guinea: Bring in the Witness!

Pickles, Anthony ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7524-602X and Santos da Costa, Priscila (2021) It is Christ or corruption in Papua New Guinea: Bring in the Witness! Oceania, 91 (3). pp. 349-366. ISSN 1834-4461

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Abstract

Endemic corruption and fervent Christianity dominate Papua New Guinea (PNG) public discourse. We draw on ethnographic material—including the emplacement of a King James V Bible in Parliament—to contextualise corruption discourse and Christian measures against corruption within evolving Papua New Guinean ideas about witnessing. Both corruption discourse and Christianity invoke a specific kind of observer: a disembodied, reliable witness capable of discerning people’s intentions. Established ethnographic and linguistic data from PNG meanwhile document witnesses as imagined to be embodied, interested, lacking a privileged relationship to truth, and thus susceptible to coercion. Recasting the PNG corruption issue in terms of witnessing foregrounds a perceived cultural conflict between inclusion and duty; it also reveals how and why the Christian God was invoked—using debt and obligation rhetoric—to end corruption at the national scale.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: corruption,christianity,politics,papua new guinea,witnessing,social change,social sciences(all),sdg 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2021 01:09
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 02:35
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/80377
DOI: 10.1002/ocea.5315

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