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International capital and local inequality: A longitudinal ethnography of the Wampar (Papua New Guinea) under the impact of two large projects (a copper-gold mine and a timber biomass energy plant)

English title International capital and local inequality: A longitudinal ethnography of the Wampar (Papua New Guinea) under the impact of two large projects (a copper-gold mine and a timber biomass energy plant)
Applicant Beer Bettina
Number 156039
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Ethnologisches Seminar Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät Universität Luzern
Institution of higher education University of Lucerne - LU
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.11.2015 - 31.10.2019
Approved amount 561'102.00
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Keywords (8)

Transnational Corporations; Papua New Guinea; Longitudinal Ethnography; Mining; Global South; Large-scale Tree Plantations; Social Transformations; Inequality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Idee eines “Rohstoff-Fluchs”, wonach Länder mit grossen Rohstoffvorkommen oft erhebliche soziale und wirtschaftliche Ungleichheit und Ungerechtigkeit aufweisen, ist in Politik und Wissenschaft weit verbreitet. Die genauen Mechanismen hinter dieser Entwicklung, und die Frage inwiefern transnationale Unternehmen und internationales Kapital zu dieser Ungleichheit beitragen, werden jedoch nach wie vor kontrovers diskutiert. Hier leistet unser Forschungsprojekt einen Beitrag, indem es anhand einer konkreten Bevölkerung in Papua-Neuguinea untersucht, wie Projekte zur Rohstoffgewinnung soziale Ungleichheit auf lokaler Ebene entstehen lassen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts:

Das Projekt untersucht anhand von zwei Dörfern der Sprachgruppe der Wampar in Papua-Neuguinea, wie durch den Einfluss von zwei kapitalintensiven Projekten zur Rohstoff- bzw. Energiegewinnung - einer Kupfer-Gold-Mine und einer Holzplantage - soziale Ungleichheit auf lokaler Ebene zustande kommt. Mittels eines Vergleichs der beiden Projekte soll festgestellt werden, durch welche sozialen Prozesse Personen und Gruppen unterschiedlichen Zugang zu neuen wirtschaftlichen Möglichkeiten erhalten und wie sie negative Begleiterscheinungen bewältigen. Ebenfalls ist es ein Ziel, zu erforschen, wie sich dadurch Geschlechter- und Generationenbeziehungen sowie Beziehungen zwischen Angehörigen verschiedener ethnischer Gruppen verändern.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext:

Das Projekt leistet einen ethnologischen Beitrag zum Verständnis der Verbindungen zwischen der globalisierten Welt der Rohstoffförderung und der lokalen Welt der sozialen Beziehungen. Die Ergebnisse sollen Grundlagen zur Entwicklung besserer Massnahmen zum Schutz lokaler Bevölkerungen schaffen und zur Teilhabe am Gewinn solcher Rohstoffprojekte beitragen.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.09.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Economic changes and the unequal lives of young people among the Wampar in Papua New Guinea
Bacalzo Doris (2019), Economic changes and the unequal lives of young people among the Wampar in Papua New Guinea, in Lee Helen (ed.), ANU Press, Canberra, Australia, 57-78.
Roads to Inequality: Infrastructure and Historically Grown Regional Differences in the Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea
Beer Bettina, Church Willem (2019), Roads to Inequality: Infrastructure and Historically Grown Regional Differences in the Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea, in Oceania, 89(1), 2-19.
Gender and inequality in a postcolonial context of large-scale capitalist projects in the Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea
Beer Bettina (2018), Gender and inequality in a postcolonial context of large-scale capitalist projects in the Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea, in The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 29(3), 348-364.
Mining narratives, the revival of «clans» and other changes in Wampar social imaginaries: A case study from Papua New Guinea
Bacalzo Doris, Beer Bettina, Schwörer Tobias (2015), Mining narratives, the revival of «clans» and other changes in Wampar social imaginaries: A case study from Papua New Guinea, in Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 63-76.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Colin Filer (director Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program) and John Burton PhD Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Glenn Banks, Head of School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, New Zealan New Zealand (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Assoc. Prof. Alex Golub, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i, Manoa United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Bruce Knauft, Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Albert Schram, vice-chancelor, president PapuaNew Guinea (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Pagpakabana Lecture-Forum Series. Department of Sociology of the College of Arts and Social Sciences; and Department of Extension’s Building Resilient Communities Program, MSU-IIT Individual talk Social Inequalities, vulnerability and resilience in a rapidly changing economy: Insights from an anthropological case study in Papua New Guinea 14.10.2019 Iligan City, Philippines Bacalzo Doris;
Anthropology Seminar, University of Auckland Individual talk Becoming Patrons of Gold: Factional Litigation and the Making of Inequality around a Prospective Mine in Papua New Guinea 07.03.2019 Auckland, New Zealand Church Willem;
Anthropology and Pacific Studies Seminar Series, University of Waikato Individual talk Becoming Patrons of Gold: Factional Litigation and the Making of Inequality around a Prospective Mine in Papua New Guinea 19.02.2019 Hamilton, New Zealand Church Willem;
Annual Meeting der Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Talk given at a conference Social inequalities in and out of school 15.02.2019 Auckland, New Zealand Bacalzo Doris;
Annual Meeting der Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Talk given at a conference Em istap bilongen yet: Not-sharing, changing ethical life, and social inequalities among Wampar, PNG 14.02.2019 Auckland, New Zealand Beer Bettina;
Annual Meeting for the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Talk given at a conference Increasing-Returns Processes around an Extractive Project in Papua New Guinea: A Source of Historical Contingency and Robust Social Inequality 14.02.2019 Auckland, New Zealand Church Willem;
Annual Meeting der Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Talk given at a conference Contested valuation and social inequalities with shifting land use and labour arrangements 14.02.2019 Auckland, New Zealand Bacalzo Doris;
Biennial meeting for the European Society for Oceanists (EsfO) Talk given at a conference Office Makers and Office Holders: Historical Processes of Inequality Formation in Morobe, Papua New Guinea 10.12.2018 Cambridge, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Church Willem;
Jahrestagung der Schweizerischen Ethnologischen Gesellschaft (SEG) Talk given at a conference Having, Losing: Distress and Divination among the Wampar, Papua New Guinea 23.11.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Beer Bettina;
Doktorandenkolloquium. Centre for Law and Sustainability, Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät, University of Luzern Individual talk Competitive Patron-Seeking amongst Resource Extraction: Changing Land Tenure and Emerging Economic Inequality around a Prospective Copper-Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea 24.10.2018 Luzern, Switzerland Church Willem;
Kolloquium des Instituts für Ethnologie der Universität Hamburg Individual talk ’Clan’ und ‘Familie’: Transformationen sozialer Beziehungen bei den Wampar, Papua-Neuguinea 19.06.2018 Hamburg, Germany Beer Bettina;
Kolloquium des Instituts für Ethnologie der Universität Luzern Individual talk Aggregating and Disaggregating Inequality: Breaking Down Emerging Political and Economic Inequalities near a Prospective Mine in Papua New Guinea 02.05.2018 Luzern, Switzerland Church Willem;
Annual Meeting for the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). Talk given at a conference Landowner, President, Chairman, Grand Chief? Understanding Emerging Political and Economic Inequalities near a Prospective Copper-Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea 02.02.2018 New Orleans, United States of America Church Willem;
Guest Lecture in a graduate course "Social Conflict and Environmental Challenges in Asia and the Pacific" at the School of Culture History and Language, ANU Individual talk Tree Plantations and Processes of Alienation, Divisions, and Local Engagements among the Wampar in Papua New Guinea 20.09.2017 Canberra, Australia Bacalzo Doris;
Wednesday Seminar, Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, Universität Wien Individual talk Changing social inequalities between Wampar: land and gender in the Markham Valley, (Papua New Guinea)“, 28.06.2017 Vienna, Austria Beer Bettina;
Forschungskolloquium des Universitären Forschungsschwerpunkts der Universität Luzern und des Ethnologischen Seminars der Universität Luzern Individual talk ing configurations of kin relations and the nuclear family among the Wampar, Papua New Guinea 26.04.2017 Luzern, Switzerland Beer Bettina;
Annual Meeting der Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) Talk given at a conference Economic changes and the unequal lives of young people among the Wampar in Papua New Guinea 11.02.2017 Hawaii, United States of America Bacalzo Doris;
Anthropology Seminar Series, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences Individual talk Tree Plantations and Processes of Alienation, Divisions, and Local Engagements among the Wampar in Papua New Guinea 16.08.2016 Canberra, Australia Bacalzo Doris;
‘Village’ and ‘town’ in Oceania Talk given at a conference THE INTENSIFICATION OF RURAL-URBAN NETWORKS IN THE MARKHAM VALLEY, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: From gold-prospecting to large-scale capitalist projects 01.04.2016 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Beer Bettina;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Team Exchange with Glenn Banks, Head of School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, New Zealand 17.09.2019 Luzern, Switzerland
Team Exchange with Alex Golub, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Hawai'i, Mānoa. 28.05.2019 Luzern, Switzerland
Team Workshop with Bruce Knauft, Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta 13.12.2018 Luzern, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
„Was ist schön? – Und wer bestimmt das?“, Vortrag im Rahmen der Kinderuni Luzern Talk 05.04.2019 Luzern, Switzerland Beer Bettina;
2017 „Wie forschen Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen?”, Luzerner Ferienpass Talk 18.08.2017 Universität Luzern , Switzerland Beer Bettina;
Wie forschen Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen?”, Luzerner Ferienpass Talk 28.07.2017 Universität Luzern , Switzerland Beer Bettina;
Wie forschen Ethnologinnen und Ethnologen?”, Luzerner Ferienpass Talk 21.07.2017 Universität Luzern, Switzerland Beer Bettina;
„Vom Dschungel Papua-Neuguineas in den Dschungel des Internets. Wie forschen Ethnologen?“ ?“, Kinderuni Luzern Talk 10.03.2017 Luzern, Switzerland Beer Bettina;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124442 Interethnische Beziehungen und transkulturelle Verwandtschaft bei den Wampar (Papua-Neuguinea) 01.04.2009 Project funding

Abstract

The idea of a "resource curse," whereby resource abundance generates social inequality and injustice, has caused much discussion in academic and political circles. Today, with "corporate social responsibility", it is also of concern to transnational corporations (TNCs). While the precise mechanisms underlying the resource curse are controversial, there is no doubt that extractive industries have been associated with socially significant inequality at local, regional, national and international levels. This association gives rise to vexing moral issues and to political questions that challenge policy-makers, for it exists alongside the economic necessity to increase mineral production, as world demand increases. This association is also apparent to holder of the view, strongly held in some circles, that TNCs, far from being a problem, could be a key part of the solution to poverty.This general state of affairs poses significant analytical questions to contemporary anthropology and its foundational commitment to ethnographic detail, even in the most conjunctural of local settings. The proliferating linkages entailed by globalization have produced conjunctures that make it ever more apparent that capital is global, while resources, labour power and the administrative institutions that regulate them are not. At the same time, ethnographic analysis of these conjunctures-more or less as a matter of postmodernist principle-has favoured mid-level theory and a moral critique of capitalism’s adverse effects. The proposed research seeks to engage all these issues, in a concrete regional setting, through a deep, longitudinal study of the socio-cultural processes that, in conjunction with existing circumstances, lead to the development of local level inequalities under the effects of contrasting large-scale, capital projects. Through comparison of two contrasting projects, unfolding in almost identical cultural settings, the research aims to make possible a) the analysis of the factors tending to produce transgenerationally consistent inequalities of power and wealth; b) a principled and explicit consideration of the sorts of historical factors productive of such inequalities.Papua New Guinea is characterised by its prominence in rankings both of mineral wealth and of intra-national inequality. This fact embarrasses its government and concerns NGOs and the multilateral organisations upon which the state still depends. The proposed research is aimed at uncovering the causal nexus that comprises those linkages in a localised social setting, among the Wampar of the Morobe Province, where both a large gold and copper mine and a timber biomass energy project are planned.Building on decades of ethnographic research among the Wampar, our research aims to identify the micro-level interactions that define the networks constituting local, district and regional sociality. By tracing the processes of differentiation as they relate to these interactions, we aim to understand the development of inequalities that tend to become inter-generationally reproduced, out of a field of sociality in which they were once unknown. In addition, the project aims to contribute to recent efforts to establish an anthropology of corporate forms by showing how asymmetric linkages-across what were formerly largely separate social fields-are involved in the encompassment and reconfiguration of local cultures by wider national and international institutions. That such encompassment occurs and is consequential for future trajectories, is undeniable; how it achieves its effects in terms that are relevant to the scale of a human life, in a setting like Morobe Province, is less clear. The task of clarifying such processes is at the heart of the proposed research.
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