New Proposed Sessions
Informal Session: Large-Scale International Capital and Local Inequalities
Our session on large-scale capital-intensive projects and local inequalities had six presentations of planned or ongoing research, all of which were centred in two provinces in mainland Papua New Guinea; it was attended by more than a dozen people. The projects under discussion included a copper/gold and a nickel mine, oil palm plantations, and a eucalyptus biomass project. We discussed inequality in terms of gender, access to labour, control of and access to benefits accruing
from these projects, information flows, legal representation and court proceedings regarding landownership. A pressing matter leading to increased inequality is the interplay between urbanization processes and the influx of migrants produced by these projects. The complexities
generated by each project and their interaction, in a regional context, pose challenges to interpretation that can only be handled through intensive, ongoing ethnographic investigations.
The lively and wide-ranging discussion pointed out the importance of infrastructure in relation to long-term effects of social and economic outcomes emanating from large-scale projects and the uneven participation of various social groups. In particular, the discussion centered on the exigencies of colonial history and the legal frameworks that condition the engagement of heterogeneous local populations with the projects. While possible futures and local expectations are one investigative angle to be pursued, the need for historical approaches to the emergence of inequalities that can entrench themselves on generational scales were also emphasized.
We will continue with a Working Session next year in New Orleans and would welcome additional participants from other areas of the Pacific working on diverse aspects of inequality connected to capitalist expansion. Please send a revised or updated abstract before August 1st and we will pre-circulate papers for the working session in January 2018.
Those who have expressed interest so far include: Doris Bacalzo, Bettina Beer, John Burton, Willem Church, Don Gardner, Jamon Halvaksz, Dan Jorgensen, I-Chang Kuo, Pierre-Yves Le Meur, Tobias Schwoerer, Tuomas Tammisto and Ming-Jen Wu.
Bettina Beer, University of Lucerne <email@example.com>;
Doris Bacalzo Schwörer, University of Lucerne <DBacalzo@gmail.com>;
Tobias Schwörer, University of Alaska–Anchorage <firstname.lastname@example.org>