Dr Neil Maclean
+61 2 9351 2931
I completed an honours degree in Anthropology from Monash University in 1977 and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Adelaide in 1985. I joined the Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney in 1985. I served as Editor of Oceania from 1996 to 2010.
My research with the Maring of the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea has focused on themes of the local relationship to the cash economy, the post-colonial nation state, and a developing, if contradiction ridden, national cultural field. Within this field I have written specifically on gambling, money, markets, education, the politics of space and the mimetic dynamics of the colonial encounter, and local understandings of development. A sustained engagement with critical theory has informed these substantive concerns.
More recently I have begun working on anthropological perspectives on autism and on those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Issues include:
- the implications of ethnographic and autoethnographic perspectives on a field empirically dominated by the experimental and the clinical;
- autism as a site of debate about empathy, imagination and play;
- disability and personhood;
- adult life-histories.
Engagement with the debates about empathy and imagination has also brought me back to the more general debates about the nature of participant observation as a method.
2013. Fenced In: Intimacy and Mobility in Highlands Papua New Guinea. Oceania, 83: 31–48. doi: 10.1002/ocea.5006
2012. On the road in Highlands Papua New Guinea: intimacy and ethnographic method. Qualitative Research 12(5): 575-587.
(2010) Globalisation and bridewealth rhetoric. Dialectical Anthropology 34(3): 347-373
(2004) Learning to be a Kanaka: Menace and mimicry in Papua New Guinea. Social Analysis 48(3): 69-89
Recent conference papers
(2011) Dad! You’ve have to be . . . :autism, narrative and family. Paper Presented to the Conference on Children's Play, Storytelling and Pretence, University College, University of Melbourne
(2012) Humanity, Rights and Relational Understandings of Personhood. Paper presented at a symposium Culture and Rights: scepticism, hostility, mutuality; Department of Anthropology , School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney.
Economic Anthropology; Anthropology of Development; Ethnographic Film; Space and Place; Ethnographic Method.