Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift. 1998, 9 (1), 21-33
'A sense of place' is a common heading in recent anthropological writings. This article attempts to delineate conceptually what such a 'sense of place' is, and how different ways of sensing contribute to the development of a sense of place. The article focuses on concepts of 'place' in Melanesia, taking the work of J. Weiner, S. Feld and A. Gell on Papua New Guinea as a point of departure. Gell (1995) has described the Weiner and Feld's monographs as ethnographies of sound, and has argued that sound and hearing are especially important in the sensing of places in the dense rain forest 'the ethnographic locales for these monographs. Dealing especially with language, Gell has shown how the importance of auditive sensing has manifold consequences at the cognitive level. From this, and also inspired by Roy Wagner's (1986) perspectives on symbols and meaning, the author shows how sociality among the Wogeo islanders from Papua New Guinea is infused and concretisised in the 'lived landscape' on the island. Through a description of the rituals following a girl's first menstruation, it is shown how the landscape is sensed, experienced and manifested as a crucial part of the Wogeo social identity.