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Speaking vs. writing), but is determined by local social norms. The same genre, in different contexts and for different purposes, can either have a distancing function or serve as a token of intimacy. Shuman's ethnography illustrates the potential complexity of the relationship between literacy practices and interactional norms in contexts that, at first glance, appear trivial and dismissable. Towards methodological synthesis While the distinction I am drawing between comparative-ethnographic and event-centered approaches reflects broad tendencies in methodological emphasis, it is to a certain extent artificial.

The absence of commercially exploitable resources other than labor puts great strain on the economic viability of the community. Fortunately, since the mid-1980s, Tuvalu has gained access to sources of The ethnographic context 31 cash: a few contract workers from Tuvalu have been allowed to go to work in New Zealand each year, but more importantly, Hong Kong and German shipping companies have begun hiring young Tuvaluan men. The pattern is not new: Tuvaluans have worked as sailors on Western ships since the earliest days of contact.

4 Besides the Council of Elders, the most important political body on the atoll is the Island Council, in charge of relations between the island community and the central government, and presided over by an Island President. Established by the colonial authorities in 1965, the Council is The ethnographic context 35 assisted by an Island Executive Office appointed by the Ministry of Local Governments on Funafuti. Even though the Island Council administers most of the grant money for island development that the national government provides, its authority and prestige have slowly eroded since the reestablishment of the Council of Elders.

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Palimpset of American Identity: Zuni, Anthropology and American Identity at the Turn of the Century (Phd. Thesis) by Eliza McFeely

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