Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area (New Ecologies for the Twenty-First Century)
By: Jerry K Jacka (author)Hardback
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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.
Jerry K. Jacka is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
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
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