"Masawa - bogeokwa si tuta!": Cultural and cognitive implications of the Trobriand Islanders' gradual loss of their knowledge of how to make a masawa canoe
"Masawa - bogeokwa si tuta!": Cultural and cognitive implications of the Trobriand Islanders' gradual loss of their knowledge of how to make a masawa canoe. In P. Meusburger, T. Freytag, & L. Suarsana (Eds.
), Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge
(pp. 229-256). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.
This paper describes how the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea used to construct their big seagoing masawa canoes and how they used to make their sails, what forms of different knowledge and expertise they needed to do this during various stages of the construction processes, how this knowledge was socially distributed, and the social implications of all the joint communal activities that were necessary until a new canoe could be launched. Then it tries to answer the question why the complex distributed knowledge of how to make a masawa has been gradually getting lost in most of the village communities on the Trobriand Islands; and finally it outlines and discusses the implications of this loss for the Trobriand Islanders' culture, for their social construction of reality, and for their indigenous cognitive capacities.