The tribe next door: The New Guinea Highlands in a postwar Papuan mission newspaper
Western ideologies of imperialism conceptualise time as heterogeneous in that they assume that colonised lands are outside of historical time. In this respect, the discursive construction of an empty frontier has been crucial to colonial dispossession. Yet colonial discourses become dominant through their circulation, and so the savage spaces they imagine take on a life of their own when they are revoiced. Papuan Times, a newspaper published by graduates of an industrial mission school at Kwato Island in the colonial Territory of Papua and New Guinea after the Second World War, produces subaltern agency in its reports on the pacification of the Highlands. While its news articles reproduce the heterogeneous chronotope of colonial discourse, articles describing the missionary work of former Kwato students in the Highlands reimagine the Highlands frontier as a horizon of social transformation. The Papuan Times strategy reflects the fact that a community’s pursuit of the good exists in relation to others which constrain it, and, more generally, that an anthropology of the good is also an anthropology which recognises the fraught coexistence of a plurality of values.