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Anthropology and Archaeology
Elusive Fragments book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-0-89089-746-1
e-ISBN978-1-53101-061-4

Elusive Fragments

Making Power, Propriety, and Health in Samoa

by Douglass D. Drozdow-St. Christian

2002 $55.00 286 pp hardback

Tags: Anthropology, Ethnographic Studies in Medical Anthropology Series, Medical Anthropology, Medical Anthropology

This title is out of print and may have reduced or no availability. Please contact us for more information about ordering. (919) 489-7486.


The body is a central reality of culture and a fundamental site at which culture is expressed in action and in thought. Yet anthropological analyses continue to regard the body as a cultural artifact—something static, objectifiable, and removed from the everyday experiences of living in society. These are central ideas in the new book by Douglass Drozdow-St. Christian, Elusive Fragments: Making Power, Propriety, and Health in Samoa. In this book, the author argues for another way of thinking about the body and bodies. Based on ongoing field research in Samoa, the author describes everyday processes of village and family life as the primary sites through which the body works as an agent of cultural production. By locating the body as a process of awareness and enactment, he links it with Samoan concerns for dignity, humility, and strength, thereby illuminating central dynamics within Samoan culture.

This book is part of the Ethnographic Studies in Medical Anthropology Series, edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh.

“There are many useful insights to be gained from this book… Readers with interests in the Pacific and in medical anthropology, as well as anthropologists with an interest in theory and ethnography should find this book a thought-provoking read.” — The Journal of the Polynesian Society, March 2003

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