Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area

Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area

by Jerry K. Jacka

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Overview

Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area by Jerry K. Jacka

In Alchemy in the Rain Forest Jerry K. Jacka explores how the indigenous population of Papua New Guinea's highlands struggle to create meaningful lives in the midst of extreme social conflict and environmental degradation. Drawing on theories of political ecology, place, and ontology and using ethnographic, environmental, and historical data, Jacka presents a multilayered examination of the impacts large-scale commercial gold mining in the region has had on ecology and social relations. Despite the deadly interclan violence and widespread pollution brought on by mining, the uneven distribution of its financial benefits has led many Porgerans to call for further development. This desire for increased mining, Jacka points out, counters popular portrayals of indigenous people as innate conservationists who defend the environment from international neoliberal development. Jacka's examination of the ways Porgerans search for common ground between capitalist and indigenous ways of knowing and being points to the complexity and interconnectedness of land, indigenous knowledge, and the global economy in Porgera and beyond. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822375012
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 10/19/2015
Series: New Ecologies for the Twenty-First Century
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 296
File size: 13 MB
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About the Author

Jerry K. Jacka is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction  1

Part I. The Making of a Resource Frontier  21

1. Resource Frontiers in the Montane Tropics  25

2. Colonialism, Mining, and Missionization  49

Part II. Indigenous Philosophies of Nature, Culture, and Place  77

3. Land: Yu  81

4. People: Wandakali  105

5. Spirits: Yama  129

Part III. Social-Ecological Perturbations and Human Responses  157

6. Ecological Perturbations and Human Responses  157

7. Social Dislocations: Work, Antiwork, and Highway Life  199

Conclusion: Development, Resilience, and the End of the Land  229

Notes  241

References  249

Index  269

What People are Saying About This

Michael R. Dove

"In this unique and nuanced study in highland Papua New Guinea, Jerry K. Jacka shows how royalty and compensatory payments from a multi-national gold mining company percolate through the local kinship system, transform the socioecology, and exacerbate inter-clan violence in a truly horrific way. In place of the idealized relations of neoliberal economics, Jacka posits an 'alchemy,' in one of the most revealing and disturbing accounts ever written of industrial resource extraction in the Global South. Sure to become a classic."

From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea - Paige West

"In this field-changing analysis, Jerry K. Jacka shows us a world that is complex and changing, and he takes topics readers think they know and treats them in new and stimulating ways. Alchemy in the Rain Forest is a brilliant examination of ontological adaptation and change over the course of the history of Papua New Guinea's highlands."

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