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'Seeing’ Papua New Guinea

Making Order and Disorder through a Petroleum Project

Steffen Dalsgaard

This article contributes to debates about how capitalist corporations ‘see’, and how they concurrently relate to the places where they are located. It argues that an analytical focus on ‘seeing’ illuminates how internal organization and outward relation making are tied together in complex ways. Even so, corporations of the extractive industries in particular cannot be assumed to encompass a single coherent view. The empirical case is a critical examination of how a gas project employed strict health, safety, and security measures to generate order when encountering alterity in an unfamiliar environment in Papua New Guinea. It reveals how the project was organized around two conflicting ways of seeing its host country—trying to separate itself from it while simultaneously having to engage and provide benefits for it.

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Glenn Banks

The size and dramatic impact of the large-scale mines of Melanesia make a useful case study of the effects of economic globalization on local communities, particularly in terms of poverty and inequality. In the context of debates concerning globalization and poverty, this article examines the processes around large-scale mining at both the national and local scales. It argues that the issue of scale is critical to discussions of the links between poverty and globalization, with no evidence that large-scale mining has reduced poverty at the national level in Papua New Guinea over the last thirty years. Evidence is given from the Porgera mine of the effects of mining development at the local scale, with absolute poverty down but inequality increasing. Ethnographic detail helps to situate these processes in the dynamics of the local society. It is these locally grounded attributes that account for the production of inequality far better than generalized accounts of the 'culture of globalization'.

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Uneven development in the Papua New Guinea highlands

Mining, corporate social responsibility, and the “life market”

Jerry K. Jacka

Over the last 20 years, Papua New Guinea has been at the center of a resource development boom as mining, petroleum, and logging companies extract the rich resources of this tropical Pacific island. As 97 percent of the country is owned by customary groups who correspondingly receive benefits from extraction, resource development has the potential to integrate local communities into the global economy in beneficial ways. Often, though, this is not the case, as small factions of landowners control the bulk of development proceeds. In this article, I examine the development of a coffee growing scheme adjacent to the world-class Porgera Gold Mine, intended to help local people who are marginal to mining benefit streams. Tragically, however, instead of engaging in coffee production, many disenfranchised young men in Porgera prefer to work in the “life market”—a term they use to describe tribal warfare in which groups not receiving benefits attack benefit-receiving groups in the attempt to extort monetary payments. Not only are individuals' lives at stake in the life market, but so too are the economic conditions—coffee and gold mining—that allow the life market's very existence.

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Steffen Dalsgaard

In sociological literature, the most commonly accepted meaning of 'the state' is based on a spatial definition that describes it as an entity exercising sovereignty within a bounded territory. However, the state is also made present in time, and state forms have a profound impact on the temporalities of social events and interaction, for instance, through rhythms and schedules. Consequently, this article discusses how the state in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, can be understood with reference to temporality as much as to spatiality and materiality. Here, the state is seen as being personified in its politicians, who are in control of its resources. In this understanding, the state is both facilitated and limited by the presence, attention, and duration of the politicians, who are obliged to recognize personal relationships through which kin or acquaintances can challenge bureaucratic control of space and of time.

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Richard Vokes

This article responds to Michael Herzfeld's call for anthropologists to develop a new form of 'reflexive comparison' by imaginatively casting the peoples of the African Great Lakes as part of Melanesia. Specifically, it explores how notions of personhood and sociality in this African setting might be understood through interpretative approaches developed in the New Melanesian Ethnography of the 1970s and 1980s. It finds that this sort of thought experiment yields key insights by focusing analytical attention upon concepts of shared vital substances, upon practices intended to control the flow of these substances, and upon the agency of non-human actors (especially cattle) in shaping these processes. An examination of these features suggests new perspectives on a range of ethnographic 'problems', from condom use to Rwanda's ubuhake cattle exchange.

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African Dawn

Keïta Fodéba and the Imagining of National Culture in Guinea

Andrew W. M. Smith

, ultimately, cabinet member in the young Guinean Republic. In particular, the final verse of the poem “African Dawn” stands out: Yes, it was the dawn. The first rays of the sun lightly brushed the surface of the sea, gilding the foaming crests of the waves. 2

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Yassaba’ or the Fear of Being Abandoned

Health Promotion Messages and Local Meanings in Guinea

Maria Cristina Manca

The first cases of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Guinea were confirmed in March 2014 after rumours about the emergence of a strange new disease were reported. When a retrospective investigation was conducted, the index case was linked to December

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The Colonial State and Carnival

The Complexity and Ambiguity of Carnival in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

Christoph Kohl

periods of Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa—the late nineteenth century, when effective colonial seizure was yet to be accomplished, and the heyday of anti-colonial struggle in the 1960s and early 1970s—in order to explore the multiple

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Engaging Anthropology in an Ebola Outbreak

Case Studies from West Africa

Emilie Venables and Umberto Pellecchia

The largest Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in history severely affected the three West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea during 2014 and 2015. As we write in March 2017 the region is still considered Ebola free since the last

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Making Friends of the Nations

Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific

Victoria Kuttainen and Sarah Galletly

arm of the Burns Philp Shipping Company, which serviced the New Hebrides (the British colonial name for Vanuatu), the Solomon Islands, and the Gilbert, Ellis, and Marshall groups as well as the Territories of Papua and New Guinea worked to transform