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Political Ecology, Resilience and Livelihood Conflicts in a New Guinea Mining Area
December 9, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Jerry Jacka, Assistant Professor Anthropology, CU Boulder
In this talk, I explore how the indigenous people 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, resilience, and ontology and using ethnographic, ecological, and spatial data, I present a multilayered examination of the impacts large-scale commercial gold mining in the region has had on ecology and social relations. Despite the social and ecological disturbances brought on by mining, the uneven distribution of its financial benefits has led many in the region to call for further development. This desire for increased development complicates the picture of indigenous peoples as innate conservationists who defend the environment from international neoliberal development. Instead I argue for a more nuanced examination of how people search for common ground between capitalist and indigenous ways of being that points to the complexity and interconnectedness of land, indigenous knowledge, and the global economy.