Working Session: Large-Scale International Capital and Local Inequalities
Organizers: Bettina Beer, Tobias Schwoerer, and Doris Bacalzo
This working session focused on how the flow of international capital to Pacific nations in the form of large-scale extractive and development projects shapes and transforms local inequalities. A total of six papers were presented that discussed a wide range of cases, including mining prospects (Willem Church), infrastructure development (Bettina Beer), a hydropower dam (Shu-Yuan Yang), logging and agro-industrial projects (Jason Roberts), large-scale tourism (Yu-Chien Huang) and the conduct of elections as a form of vote and legitimacy extraction (Bruce Knauft). As durable inequalities are relational and thus the product of interactions between different categories of people, attendees paid attention to how inequalities manifest between different entities. We considered differences between gender, age and status groups, between communities that are directly impacted and those that are not, as well as between communities and the state or the corporate forms that are involved. In some of the ethnographic cases local communities were fractured by the diverging desires whereas in others they pulled together to resist these projects. We discussed the role of land as undergirding local livelihoods, issues of displacement and dispossession, the desire for development by local communities that lead to engagement with resource extraction companies, and the importance of the creation of corporate groups among the local communities for the development of inequalities.
We will continue the discussion of the mechanisms leading to durable inequalities and the commonalities and differences between the case studies in a Symposium in Auckland. There is still space for additional case studies, and if anyone is interested in contributing, please contact the session organizers by August 1st, 2018.
Bettina Beer, University of Lucerne <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Tobias Schwörer, University of Alaska–Anchorage <email@example.com>;
Doris Bacalzo Schwörer, University of Lucerne <DBacalzo@gmail.com>