ok tedi

Extractive conflicts compared. In Social conflict, economic development and extractive industry: Evidence from South America, edited by Anthony Bebbington, 201-213. New York: Routledge, 2012 

Social relations and the green critique of capitalism in Melanesia. American Anthropologist 11 (3): 288-298, 2008. In this article, I explore what a critical environmental perspective would look like in Melanesia, where the distinction between nature and culture, and the expectation that science interprets the former in terms of the latter, may not apply. I consider changes in scientific knowledge production and the shift from cultural ecology to political ecology in Melanesian anthropology, including the argument that Melanesians are neither conservationists nor environmentalists. In contrast, I show how people exposed to pollution from the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea mobilize their understandings of difference in a green critique of capitalism. I examine a strategy session of local activists, a public meeting about their campaign against the mine, and a sorcery tribunal. Finally, I suggest that Melanesian ideas about social relations provide a useful ethnographic analogy for thinking about the mobility and short temporal horizons of contemporary capitalism.

Indigenous movements and the risks of counterglobalization: Tracking the campaign against Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi mine. American Ethnologist 34 (2): 303-321, 2007. Many contemporary indigenous movements deploy strategies of counterglobalization that make innovative use of the architecture of globalization. This article examines an indigenous political movement that took legal action to gain compensation and limit the environmental impact of the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea. Even though the campaign sought to balance the desire for economic benefits with the protection of local subsistence practices, its objectives were frequently misinterpreted. Indigenous movements that deviate from an antidevelopment position run the risk of being seen as greedy rather than green. Instead of reproducing allegories about the successful exercise of veto power over development projects, anthropologists need ethnographic accounts that analyze the complex ambitions of indigenous movements and the risks of particular strategies of counterglobalization.

Anthropology and advocacy: A case study of the campaign against the Ok Tedi mine. Critique of Anthropology 22 (2): 175-200, 2002. What are the responsibilities of anthropologists towards the communities with whom they work? This article examines debates on anthropology and advocacy in relation to the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea. Since the early 1990s, the indigenous communities living downstream from the mine have carried out on an international political and legal campaign to reduce the mine’s environmental impact and gain compensation for the damage it has caused. I argue that neutrality may not be possible in disputes between transnational corporations and indigenous communities because of structural inequalities that make it easier for corporations to take advantage of anthropological expertise and silence opposing voices. This article invokes questions raised in recent discussions of cultural property rights to consider the proprietary responsibilities of anthropologists towards the information that they collect and the claims made on anthropologists by the subjects of their research. Finally, the article considers the implications of recent political and economic trends regarding the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in monitoring international capital for anthropological activism.

Changing views of time and place along the Ok Tedi. In Mining and indigenous lifeworlds in Australia and Papua New Guinea, eds Alan Rumsey and James Weiner, 243-272. Adelaide: Crawford House Press, 2001. Second printing: Oxon, UK: Sean Kingston Publishing, 182-207, 2004.

engaged / public anthropology on the Ok Tedi mine

Ok Tedi River a sewer. Times of Papua New Guinea, 1-7 June, 491: 3, 1986.

The Yonggom, the refugee camps along the border, and the impact of the Ok Tedi mine. Research in Melanesia 12: 30-61, 1989.

Social impact of the Ok Tedi mine on the Yonggom villages of the North Fly, 1992. Research in Melanesia 19: 23-102, 1995. (Originally produced as Ok-Fly Social Monitoring Programme, Report 5. Port Moresby: Unisearch PNG Pty Ltd., 1993).

The Yonggom of Papua New Guinea and the Ok Tedi Mine. In State of the Peoples: Global Rights Report on Societies in Danger, ed. Marc S. Miller, 113. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.

Acting globally: Eco-politics in Papua New Guinea. Journal of the International Institute 3 (3): 1, 14-15, 1996.

Anthropologists and global alliances. Anthropology Today 12 (4): 14-16, 1996.

Return to Ok Tedi. Meanjin 55 (4): 657-666, 1996.

Cleaning up Ok Tedi: Settlement favors Yonggom people. Journal of the International Institute 4 (1): 7, 1996.

Indigenous response to environmental impact along the Ok Tedi, in Compensation for Resource Development in Papua New Guinea, ed. Susan Toft, 143-55. Law Reform Commission of Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Australian National University, 1997.

Kotim ol (Take them to court). Delta: News and Background on Ogoni, Shell and Nigeria 3: 32-35, 1997.

Is Ok Tedi a precedent? Implications of the settlement. In The Ok Tedi Settlement: Issues, Outcomes, and Implications, eds Glenn Banks and Chris Ballard, 118-40. Canberra: Australian National University, 1997.

“Incompatible with our environmental values.” What’s next for Ok Tedi? Higher Values: The Minewatch Bulletin 13: 3-7, 2000.

An incomplete victory at Ok Tedi. Human Rights Dialogue 2 (2): 10-11, 2000.

Mining and environmental human rights in Papua New Guinea. In Transnational corporations and human rights, eds George Jedrzej Frynas and Scott Pegg, 115-136. London: Palgrave, 2003. (Originally presented at a workshop on Indigenous peoples, private sector natural resource, energy and mining companies and human rights organized by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the UN office in Geneva. Also appeared as Indigenous Perspectives 5 (1): 60–91, 2002).

Litigating Ok Tedi (again). Cultural Survival Quarterly 26 (3): 15-19, 2002.

No justice in Ok Tedi settlement. Cultural Survival Quarterly 28 (2): 52-53, 2004. 

Greenwashing: BHP Billiton, responsible for environmental devastation downstream from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea and proud sponsor of the University of Michigan’s solar car, symbol of the university’s commitment to the environment.

In dialogue with Stuart Kirsch’s work on the Ok Tedi mine:

Colin Filer, Global alliances and local mediations. Anthropology Today 12 ((5): 26, 1996. 

David Hyndman, Academic responsibilities and representation of the Ok Tedi crisis in postcolonial Papua New Guinea. The Contemporary Pacific 13 (1): 33-54, 2001. 

Richard T. Jackson, Muddying the waters of the Fly: Underlying issues or stereotypes? Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Working Paper no. 41, 2001. 

Glenn Banks, Mining and the environment in Melanesia: Contemporary debates reviewed. The Contemporary Pacific 14 (1): 39-67, 2002. 

Martha Macintyre and Simon Foale, Politicized ecology: Local responses to mining in Papua New Guinea. Oceania 74 (3): 231-251, 2004.

Goldie Blumenstyk, Mining company involved in environmental disaster now advises sustainability institute at U. of Michigan. Chronicle of Higher Education. December 7, 2007. 

lsa logoum logoU-M Privacy StatementAccessibility at U-M