Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trobriand Cricket

The Trobriand Islands are a set of islands of the coast of New Guinea. I saw this documentary called Trobriand Cricket, about how christian missionaries brought the game of cricket to the Trobriand islands in order to discourage the Trobrianders from warfare. However, the Trobrianders interpreted the game and made it their own. They changed the rules and remade the game to fit into their own culture. They incorporated the game into ritualized feasts and gift exchanges and incorporated dances and chants between and during the game. They also incorporated magic, which allows the spectators to participate as well, and their version of the game is extra competitive because both teams involve lots of taunting of their opponets. Instead of accepting the christian missionaries version, they made the game more disorganized and violent, and instead of discouraging warfare the Trobrianders actually incorporated it into the game. I found the analysis of the way in which the Trobrianders made the game their own in order incorporate into their culture rather than accepting the set of rules that they were taught quite interesting. They recreated the magic circle that the game came with, and made the game more competitive and the fact that they incorporated warfare makes it a sort of game within a game.

1 comment:

  1. The way in which cricket was transformed by the Trobrianders reminds me of Capoeria, a form of resistance that came about in Brazil during the colonial period. Capoeria was also a game, but it revolved around music, dancing, and martial arts. In contrast, it was actually invented by the Brazilian natives, namely the slaves, but became accepted and welcomed into the colonizing (relatable to the missionary) populations. However, the underlying themes of violence and resistance were hidden from the oppressing bodies, just as it sounds was the case in the Trobriand Islands.