Review of Edward Schieffelin’s the Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers.

Review of Edward Schieffelin’s The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers.
Edward Schieffelin’s The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers is an ethnography that gives an insightful description of the Kaluli forest people of Papua New Guinea. The book ethnography material was collected over two year’s research undertaken in Papua New Guinea by the author. The comprehensive work comprises of various rites, ties, beliefs, customs and bodies of knowledge. In the book, Schieffelin further focuses on the various modes of organizations of the Kaluli people in terms of language and societal structure. The book captures the writer’s existential philosophical perception of anthropology, which dwells on the fundamental human concerns such as the meaning and problem of freedom, spirit life, love, moral responsibility, encounter with others, with Death and with God (Schieffelin, 7).
The book focuses on Gisaro, a Kaluli   ceremony that interweaves various anthropological themes. Schieffelin cites, that “the Gicero ceremony seemed to exemplify and entail on both symbolic and social interactional levels, the major social processes that made Kaluli society and social experience what it was”. The book embodies several themes such as morality, anger, responsibility, opposition, masculinity, and reciprocity. The themes are explicitly described in all the chapters of the book.
Morality as a thematic construct is exhibited through the ethical codes that guide the Kaluli way of life. The Kaluli have traditions nurtured and handed down over generations. This ethnography points out that discipline is key and is enforced by the network of ties that are characterized by different hierarchies. The Kaluli elders are integral in the enforcement of morals and ethical practices of the community. The Gisaro dance accentuates the morals in the Kaluli community through songs that carry teachings and reminders of the community’s cultural standing. The Gisaro dances are...