Education and the New Inequality in Papua New Guinea

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  • Topic: Madang Province, New Guinea, Papua New Guinea
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Education and the "New" Inequality in Papua New Guinea Author(s): Patricia Lyons Johnson Source: Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Sep., 1993), pp. 183-204 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 21/12/2010 11:05 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

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Education and the "New" Inequality in Papua New Guinea

Pennsylvania State University Thisarticlearguesthatstudies ofgrowing socioeconomic stratificationin Papua New Guinea have ignored or dismissed gender as a source of inequality. The article focuses on educational opportunity as the key to wealth and political power and shows that the most educationallydisadvantagedgroup in Papua New Guinea is rural women. Data from national censuses, the author'sfield work,and literatureconcerningstratificationare used to supporttheargument. EDUCATION, GENDER INEQUALITY,PAPUA NEW GUINEA Over the last 15 years in Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.),a body of literature has emerged concerned with the process of increasing socioeconomic differentiation that has accompanied political independence (Amarshi et al. 1979; Bray and Smith 1985; Gerritsen 1981; Howlett 1980; May 1985a). While the relative classlessness of precolonial societies has inspired debate, there is consensus that postcolonial P.N.G. is experiencing increasing disparities in education, wealth, political power, and the general set of benefits at least theoretically associated with development and modernization. Studies of this phenomenon have examined inequality in several spheres: among races and regions; among groups within the urban sector; between the urban and rural sectors; and, within the rural sector, between the "big peasantry" (Fitzpatrick 1980) and the rest of the rural population. Despite divergent opinions as to the relative importance of particular spheres, there does appear to be at least tacit agreement that the important focus of current study is the growing inequality among men. Increasing disparities between men and women have received very little attention. I will argue in this article that what Molyneux (1977:57) defines as androcentrism, "a theoretical and ideological bias which focuses principally and sometimes exclusively on male subjects and on the relations constituted between them," has either obscured or dismissed the fact that in the area of education, which in P.N.G. comprises an integral strand in the web of wealth and political power, it is rural females who have constituted the most disadvantaged segment of the population. My argument will be based on the literature, on data from the Papua New Guinea...
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