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No Ethnographic Playground: Mining Projects and Anthropological Politics. A Review Essay

  • Marina Welker (a1)
Abstract

“Mining is no ethnographic playground,” Chris Ballard and Glenn Banks warned in their 2003 review of the anthropology of mining. The deep conflicts that characterize the industry find echoes in “a parallel war of sorts …waged within the discipline about the nature and scope of appropriate forms of engagement” (p. 289). This review essay examines how authors of recent ethnographic studies of large-scale, capital-intensive mining projects in Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and the United States have politically positioned themselves as researchers, and the insights into mining companies that derive from these situated perspectives.

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mwelker@cornell.edu
References
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Ballard Chris, and Banks Glenn. 2003. Resource Wars: The Anthropology of Mining. Annual Review of Anthropology 32: 287313.
Fortun Kim. 2001. Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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Jacka Jerry K. 2015. Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area. Durham: Duke University Press.
Kirsch Stuart. 2006. Reverse Anthropology: Indigenous Analysis of Social and Environmental Relations in New Guinea. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
LeCain Timothy J. 2009. Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines that Wired America and Scarred the Planet. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Li Fabiana. 2015. Unearthing Conflict: Corporate Mining, Activism, and Expertise in Peru. Durham: Duke University Press.
Rogers Douglas. 2012. The Materiality of the Corporation: Oil, Gas, and Corporate Social Technologies in the Remaking of a Russian Region. American Ethnologist 39, 2: 284–96.
Rogers Douglas. 2015. Oil and Anthropology. Annual Review of Anthropology 44: 365–80.
Tsing Anna Lowenhaupt. 2005. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Welker Marina. 2014. Enacting the Corporation: An American Mining Firm in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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