Powdermaker, Hortense, 1903-1970. Life in Lesu: the study of a Melanesian Society in New Ireland

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Life In Lesu

Chapter I Social Organization

Daily Life

Social Organization



Moiety And Clan

The Family

Classificatory Kinship System


Chapter Ii Infancy

Chapter Iii Childhood


Sexual Play

Later Childhood

Boys' Life Compared With Girls' Life

Instruction In Folk-tales And Myths

Betrothal Customs

Chapter Iv Initiation Rites

Necessary Conditions For Holding Rites


Women's Dances


Speeches Of Women

Distribution Of Currency And Food

Folk-tales Concerning Initiation

Malanggan Rites



Chapter V Marriage

Rites At First Menses

Wedding Rites

Consummation Of Marriage

Salient Aspects Of Rites

Chapter Vi Work


Ownership Of Resources

Seasonal Variations

Division Of Labour








Other Cooking



Basketry And Weaving

Carving, Work In Tortoise-shell, Etc.

Organization Of Work


Free Gifts

Reciprocal Exchange


Payments For Services

Medical Services

Other Services

Trade Between Groups—sale Of A Malanggan


Chapter Vii Sexual Life


Attitude Towards Love

Attributes Of Beauty

Love Magic


Sex Activities

Birth Control And Abortion

Extra-marital Relations

Family Sentiments



Sex Taboos




Life Histories


Chapter Viii Knowledge, Magic, And Religion


Measurement Of Time



Medical Knowledge



Taro Magic

Analysis Of Spells

Black Magic


Theories Of After Life

Mortuary Rites



Chapter Ix The Individual And Society

Family Versus Clan Sentiments

Formation And Functioning Of Social Patterns

Basic Principles

Individual Variations

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Life in Lesu: the study of a Melanesian Society in New Ireland

Published By: Original publisher New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.. 1933. 352 p. ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Hortense Powdermaker. Foreword by Dr. Clark Wissler

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2012. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Lesu (OM24)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Functional and adaptational interpretations (182); Settlement patterns (361); Status, role, and prestige (554); Medium of exchange (436); Exchange transactions (437); Daily routine (512); Highways and bridges (491); Division of labor by gender (462); Sleeping (513); Domesticated animals (231); Rule of descent (611); Kin relationships (602); Clans (614); Residence (591); Mythology (773); Regulation of marriage (582); Dwellings (342); Ingroup antagonisms (578); Local officials (624); External relations (648); Techniques of socialization (861); Magic (789); Childhood activities (857); General sex restrictions (834); Puberty and initiation (881); Sacred objects and places (778); Tillage (241); Vegetable production (244); Fishing (226); Sexual stimulation (832);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This source is a basic ethnographic study of the village of Lesu on the island of New Ireland. The emphasis in the study is on social organization and non-material culture. Included are discussions of social organization, infancy, childhood, initiation rites, marriage, work, sexual life, knowledge, magic and religion, and the individual and society. Additional information on magic not included in the text, a table of intermarriages between clans, and a glossary are given in appendices.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. om24-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1929-1930

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Timothy J. O'Leary ; 1961

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1920-1933

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Lesu, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings New Ireland Province (Papua New Guinea)//Ethnology--Papua New Guinea--New Ireland//Lesu, New Ireland (Papua New Guinea)


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