Enga the Culture Plays Essay

Pages: 8 (2619 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

In today's western society the values and beliefs are altered with time. With the media, technology and many other factors effecting today's society, the beliefs and values have been altered. Even the culture has changed over time. With people migrating from one place to another, it has caused the cultures to change in today's society. Whereas in Enga society, technology, media and such other factors do not exist. Therefore, the changes in the culture and values and beliefs are consistent. (Wallace, 1992).

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The people of Enga are concerned with connecting regional events and happenings with the history that is shared in the Christian Bible. Kaiyamba's Cult, The Cult of Ain, Ipayema and Timbapu's Cult were some of the cults that the Engans divided themselves into. Killing of pigs was common in all of the cults. It was around 1946, after the first encounter with the whites, that the concept of cults finally came to an end. Since they had a feeling that the leaders of the cults were not loyal enough, the next 15 years were known to be in an era in which the Enga people drifted away from the belief in cults. (Jacka, 2002). When missionaries were allowed in this area by the Australian colonial government, in 1961, eventually the conversion to Christianity took place rapidly. As a result, their indulgence in Christianity today affects their concept of their past, present, and their hope of the future. Furthermore, a mixture of myth (tindi) history (teinane and atome) and rituals are the key characteristics of the historical consciousness in this region. It is henceforth stated that a new historical anthropology (Jacka, 2002) should bring these separate elements, that is, myths, history, and rituals in a combined form to portray the unique ways that local people can show their life as it is lived in a modern way.

Essay on Enga the Culture Plays a Assignment

Furthermore, it can be stated that culture plays a vital role in a society. Culture effects the way people think and act. It set the norms of the society for everyone to follow. It is highly important to alter the culture with the changing needs of the society. (Glazer, 2000). In the case of Enga they follow an Agrarian society. The culture of this society is very different from that of industrial society. The Agrarian society devotes all its efforts towards agriculture and this is also there source of earning bread and butter for the families. This effects the culture and the way interact with each other in the society. The culture of agrarian society in Enga has highly influenced the kinship in society. The society focuses on a very conservative mode of kinship. This raises issues such as discrimination and many others. It also becomes a barrier for many to seek out for good opportunities regarding business or anything; the close kinship affected their relationships. They have to follow the trends that are being carried out by the elders. Everyone has to follow certain restrictions in the society such as those of getting married. The person to be married to the conservative culture gives raise to many issues related to inter-family marriages and many other complications.

In the highland of New Guinea, a group of 30,000 people known as the Rajapu Enga, reside. It is an environment which rarely succeeds in the cultivation of their main crop, the sweet potato (Benedict, 2002). The people of Enga grow this crop above specially made mounds inorder to avoid any frost damage. On top of this, they grow a variety of vegetables in mixed gardens at a lower level of intensity. This is done by shifting cultivation in the forest. Then comes the pig-rearing, the most essential component of agriculture, which is Enga's primary mode of subsistence. This provides the people of Enga with both, a source of meat and wealth among their region. Unlike the western society in todays time wealth is measured in terms of monetary value and land and other factors. The concept of being wealthy is very different in today's society than that of enga society. In enga having the best source of meal in terms of meat was used to measure wealth of a person. All in all, it can be noted that the economy of Enga portrays 'a remarkably sophisticated and stable adaptation with a simple technology and under high population densities' (Jacka, 2002).

Moreover, gender biasness also exists in the society of Engans. Patriarchy is also one of the main issues of the society. It discourages the women of the family to participate in succession of property. The females of the house are not participated in any of the major decision regarding any issue. They are not even asked before being married off. All the lifelong decisions are made by the men of the family. Where as in today's western society women are given equal rights to make the decision. Women in enga society are depressed because of the society issues. There is no importance given to the women of enga society. They are considered as second class citizens. This hinders the growth of women in the society. The mode of subsistence of Engans being that of an agrarian society, the relations with the family ties or kin revolves around that fact. The relations were conservative and backward. (Wallace, 1992).

To conclude with, Engans of New Guinea have experienced very little social change. Usually, the people of Enga held a cargoic (Wallace, 1992) view towards Christianity most of the time. It was noted that the missionaries had told the people of Enga that if they became Christians, they would be able to drive vehicles, wear nice clothes and reside in good homes. They basically bribed them to become Christians. Furthermore, they still continued to believe in myths and magic, a sign of little progress.

However, it can be further concluded that Enga has a very conservative culture that has effected many aspects. Kinship, values and beliefs are all the factors that are affected by the conservative culture. The relationship between family member and gender biasness is also influenced by the conservative factors of the society. Moreover, the way in which people tend to enjoy activities and spend their leisure time is very different from the western society. The western society as compared to Enga is very modern. Women and men are given equal opportunity and rights. Every decision that is made by women can also be made by men and vice versa. (Glazer, 2000)


Benedict Y. Imbun, (2002), Enga Social Life and Identity in a Papua New Guinea Mining Town. Oceania. 66.(1). 51+, Publication Year: 1995.

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