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Becoming LandownersEntanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste$
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Victoria C. Stead

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856663

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856663.001.0001

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Making Land Work?

Making Land Work?

Chapter:
(p.102) Chapter 5 Making Land Work?
Source:
Becoming Landowners
Author(s):

Victoria C. Stead

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824856663.003.0005

In Papua New Guinea, a country rich in mineral and other natural resources, “development” has become largely inseparable from the extension of capitalist relations of production and exchange across land. This is a cultural process as well as an economic one, and it both materially undermines and ideologically devalues customary forms of subsistence production, as well as forms of informal sector economic activity. Ethnographic exploration of communities around the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone and the RD Tuna Cannery in Madang Province also reveal the functioning of “development” as a cultural, ideational and symbolically laden phenomenon. Specifically, the consumption of tinpis (Tok Pisin: tinned fish), functions ambivalently as a signifier both of status and of dispossession. If dominant development practices devalue customary land and customary forms of production, however, it also creates new opportunities for asserting new visions of development and of the good life.

Keywords:   development, Madang, tuna industry, RD Tuna, Pacific Marine Industrial Zone, consumption, capitalism, informal economy, subsistence economy, activism

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