Skills and Expertise
Research Items (66)
- Sep 2018
Anthropological study involving fieldwork and participant observation is profoundly affected by the gender of the researcher. Conformity or sensitivity to ideals of gender in the host community is crucial to acceptance and incorporation. This was initially not recognized, but since the mid‐twentieth century, when feminism and postcolonialism gained theoretical authority in anthropology, the gender of the researcher has been a subject of reflection and debate. In the late twentieth century, as gay and lesbian research gained ground, this discussion has been extended so that issues of the effects of sexuality and gender in fieldwork have new salience.
In this chapter, we analyze the historical changes to mortuary ritual in the context of large-scale resource development in insular Papua New Guinea (PNG). We compare the Lihir Islands in New Ireland Province, where a gold mine is ongoing, with changes on Misima Island in Milne Bay Province, where a mine had shut down. In Lihir and Misima, mortuary rituals are similarly structured around an extended series of feasts and exchanges that complete obligations toward the deceased and create renown for the hosts. Lihirians and Misimans have been quick students of development and swiftly put their newfound wealth to good use in customary feasting. The resulting efflorescence of custom has been a defining feature of their engagement with mining capitalism. At present, Lihirian mortuary rituals continue to expand in step with the growing mining economy, while the closure of the Misima gold mine in 2004 forced a reduction in Misiman ritual excess. Our central concerns are the ways that mortuary feasting and exchange—kastom par excellence—have endured and transformed. More specifically, we are interested in the changes that have taken place as these customary practices are kept relevant in periods of dramatic change. This includes not only the incorporation of introduced goods but the ways in which traditions and social obligations are imagined or idealized in moments of flux. We argue that the persistence of mortuary rituals is not simply the result of cultural continuity but the deliberate and selective revival of traditions as a direct response to modernity: in mortuary rituals, local society and individual actors engage with the processes of modernity engendered through large-scale resource development. As the fluctuations in the resource economy are voiced in the ceremonial sphere, a mortuary dialogue of creative, persistent, local answers to global capitalism is taking place.
- Jul 2014
In this paper, we draw on fieldwork with middle-class investors in ‘fast money schemes’ (Ponzi scams) to consider how Neo-Pentecostal Christianity may be mediating social and economic change in Papua New Guinea, particularly in relation to gender equality. Ideas of companionate marriage and the cultivation of an affective self imply masculinities that are more sensitive and less domineering. As these images of fulfilled modernity flow out from Pentecostal churches into broader Papua New Guinean society, they corroborate Taylor's theory of how change occurs within the modern social imaginary.
A growing volume of recent research on small-scale fisheries governance has a focus on local perspectives and priorities of small-scale fisherfolk. This paper devel-ops from this local perspective a novel focus on what is a fundamental priority of many small-scale fishers: concerns about inequality. The paper begins with a criti-cal review of the literature on small-scale fisheries governance and suggests how a focus on inequality can make a useful contribution. The paper uses case-studies of small-scale fisheries in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Philippines to highlight local priorities about inequality and the implications for small-scale fisheries gover-nance. PNG and the Philippines have very different social, political and environ-mental contexts, yet in both cases, local inequalities were a key pre-occupation of fisherfolk and posed major challenges for fisheries governance. While in both of the case-studies, fishers were aware of and keen to act on resource sustainability, this concern was overridden by concerns over: who obtained benefits from the fishery; who was responsible for resource degradation; and who should bear the costs of regulation. We conclude by discussing how our emphasis on the importance of inequality at a local level can potentially be integrated within many influential approaches to small-scale fisheries governance.
A little knowledge is apt to puff up, and make men giddy, but a greater share of it will set them right, and bring them to low and humble thoughts of themselves More than a decade of monitoring the social impacts of mining required numerous collaborative relationships. One instance of this provided a more complicated example of collaborative research as it involved working directly and concurrently with three distinct groups of people, each group not only having different conceptions of the problems at issue but also drawing on a different knowledge base and occasionally on quite distinct epistemologies. We do not want to exaggerate this latter distinction, as we think that has happened too often in studies of “traditional ecological knowledge.” The Papua New Guinean people with whom we have worked are in many ways as empiricist as any Western scientists, and they usually base their knowledge on careful observation. They also test to see if something works and to verify claims made by others. Just one example is evidence—the willingness of Papua New Guineans to plant new crops and adopt new gardening techniques. Bourke (2009) estimates that prior to European settlement, some 170 plant species were cultivated for food (2009: 15). Since about 1870, 90 food crop species and more than 2,200 varieties have been introduced (2009: 18). Bourke’s surveys revealed that the embrace of these new foods was so rapid that in many instances people now believe they are indigenous crops. Over the past three decades there has been a growing awareness of, and academic interest in, Indigenous or traditional ecological knowledge, inspired mainly by Western conservationists but incorporating varying degrees of radical political stances on the marginalization of minority Indigenous peoples in nation states (Tuckwell 2012). Often these stances are critical of scientific knowledge and the privileging of Western knowledge and “epistemic standards” (Haack 1998: 146). According to the United Nations definition in documents prepared for the establishment of intellectual property rights, Indigenous ecological knowledge is “in general terms . . . traditional practices and culture and the knowledge of plants and animals and of their methods of propagation; it includes expressions of cultural values, beliefs, rituals and community laws, and it includes knowledge regarding land and ecosystem management” (United Nations 2007, n.p.). Anthropologists and biological scientists have developed a range of interpretations of the concepts, and as Davis and Ruddle observe, “there is no consensus on the content” of Indigenous or local or traditional ecological knowledge. “This means it connotes different qualities for different researchers” (Davis and Ruddle 2010: 880). They include a valuable detailed table of the interpretative variations. Our own research proceeded with a working definition approximating that of the United Nations, although we also pursued direct inquiry of local explanations of what Western science deems natural phenomena, such as fish spawning, water springs, seasonal variation, and plant habitats. This aspect of the research was directly related to changes that were occurring, or were possible, because of the mining operations and was aimed at determining issues that might become contentious where explanatory models diverged. Scientific knowledge is perhaps even more diverse in the range of interpretations of its epistemology, ontology, rationality, and methodologies. Not only is it divided into academic disciplines as different from each other as physics and biology, but within each discipline there are debates about the subjects and objects of study, the claims to truth, and the methods appropriate for testing verifiability. Our approach was ultimately pragmatic, in that we considered it important to work with the sciences as understood by the educators and environmental scientists with whom we were collaborating. In the main they were rational, skeptical, and materialist in their understandings of the natural world. The Papua New Guinea education department’s science curriculum draws much of its inspiration from that of its Australian counterpart. It is not relativist; nor does it include material on philosophy of science that raises theoretical questions about scientific truth claims. We were concerned with problems such as species extinction, loss of habitat, and irreversible changes that would alter subsistence viability—all matters that we viewed from the perspective of our...
Purpose – This chapter analyzes landowner business development and economic sustainability in the context of large-scale mining in Papua New Guinea with a focus on the Lihir gold mine. It pays particular attention to the social implications of success or failure of business development in mining contexts. Methodology/approach – This chapter is based upon ethnographic research and social impact monitoring studies conducted by the authors in Lihir between 1994 and 2012, as consultants and employees of the Lihir mining operation and as independent researchers. This chapter is also based upon broader research and consulting work undertaken by the authors at other mining locations throughout Papua New Guinea. The research is intended to explore the social changes generated by large-scale mining and related forms of business development, and the factors and strategies which constrain or enable landowners to get what they want from capitalism.
This article consists of three arguments. The first advocates the development of Open Access for anthropological books and journals and critiques the way we have ceded control of dissemination to inappropriate commercial concerns that come to stand for what should have been academic criteria. The second argues that this is best accomplished while being conservative about the process of review, selection, and the canons of scholarship. Third, the article address the emergence of Digital Anthropology, suggesting this has considerable significance for the very conceptualization of anthropology and its future, and suggesting that it can be given definition. But, this should not be confused with the issues of Open Access and review. This is followed by ten helpful and critical comments. In the concluding discussion I respond to these and argue how these points can be taken into account in creating the conditions for a shift to Open Access while defending the concept of Digital Anthropology.
We present demographic, social, historical and ecological data to challenge the generalization that traditional tenure and fishing taboos constitute cultural adaptations that evolved to prevent over-harvesting of subsistence fisheries in the Pacific. In particular, we re-examine the seminal and widely cited arguments of Johannes (Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 1978; 9, 349–364), which constructed tenure and taboos primarily as traditional fishery management tools for the entire Pacific region. While it is difficult to disprove Johannes’ logic for some sites, particularly in formerly densely populated parts of Polynesia and Micronesia, our review of data and literature for Melanesia indicate very different origins and functions for these institutions. Our study shows that human population densities in most of the Western Pacific prior to European colonial intrusions were too low to have generated sufficient fishing pressure to drive the evolution of a conservation ethic. Our review for Melanesia shows that customary marine tenure and fishing taboos are primarily designed to manage relationships between social groups, rather than to sustain food security from fisheries. We argue that proper recognition of the cultural role of tenure and taboos is critical to progressing marine resource management in Melanesia.
Cet article propose une reflexion sur l'ecriture de l'ethnologie, notamment sur la place de l'ethnographe lors de la recherche sur le terrain, sur les relations avec les informateurs, enfin sur la construction d'une ethnologie ou les informateurs participent a son elaboration. A partir d'une critique de l'experience ethnographique de Roger Keesing, qui a ecrit des histoires de vie en commun avec trois informateurs Kwaio des Iles Salomon, l'A. montre que ces ecrits sont empreints de romantisme et revelent une vision non historique qui ne prend aucunement en compte les changements profonds qui ont touche la societe melanesienne contemporaine.
- Feb 2009
The image of the ‘man with a gun’ is pervasive in Papua New Guinea and connotes not only the state's capacity to use force, but that of men to resist and subvert state control. At the same time, the association of beer and marijuana with both modernity and violent masculine behaviours provides the context, the justification and the forms of homosocial activities involving violence. In this paper, I explore the ambiguities surrounding guns as instruments of state force and as symbols of masculine autonomy in so-called ‘weak states’ by examining some stories about the ways that guns are acquired for illegal activities. In particular, I shall discuss the ways that guns and beer are instruments of violence and potency for police, tribal warriors and criminals as well as some of the means whereby men gain access to new forms of power. Drawing on ethnographic research with young men in New Ireland Province, the paper will deal specifically with the ways that adolescent boys construe ‘modern masculinity’.
- Jan 2009
Anthropology's relationship with colonialism has preoccupied many in the discipline for several decades. The recognition that the subjects of research, those whom anthropology defined as its special purview, were almost invariably colonised people has lead to the development of a critical literature that has embraced historical inquiry with fervour. Within the United States the works of Marshall Sahlins, James Clifford and John and Jean Comaroff have been especially influential. Edward Said's writings simultaneously inspired research in several disciplines, including history and anthropology, which exposed and criticized Western representations of the "Other." In her examination of writings about New Ireland in Papua New Guinea, from the period of initial colonial intrusion in the late nineteenth century to that of Australian mandate in the mid 1930s, Brenda Clay has drawn on a wide range of theoretical approaches to explore Western understandings of the people they encountered. The volume is thematically unified by the use of discourse analysis as its framework and the selection of texts, by missionaries and anthropologists, which represent New Ireland people through ethnographic or comparative modes that have as their reference point a Western "self." Sometimes this is implicit – especially in anthropological writings – but as Clay demonstrates, missionaries and anthropologists both provide observations, accounts and analyses of people in terms that reveal their understandings of humanity, difference and change as Eurocentric. The assumptions and attitudes that underpin their representations are mediated through a range of writing genres and the author skilfully contextualises the various writings she examines, noting the circumstances of their production, their intended audience and their intellectual or ideological frameworks. There is a prolific historical literature on Europeans in the Pacific that documents and interprets the colonial encounters between islanders and the assorted traders, colonial administrators, plantation owners, missionaries and adventurers that deal with similar themes in slightly different ways. The writings of historians Dorothy Shineberg, Donald Denoon, Peter Corris, Stewart Firth, Greg Dening, Clive Moore, Klaus Neumann and Bill Gammage, to mention a few, all throw light on the ways that colonial perceptions were mismatched, often mistaken and based on widely divergent worldviews. In this respect, I think that Bernard Smith's study of the "European vision" of the Pacific remains unsurpassed. Clay, like most of the anthropologists who turn to history, does not seem to have immersed herself in this literature. Although there are some whose writings are acknowledged, notably Bronwen Douglas, their interpretative perspectives generally are not and there is a tendency to place more emphasis on the recent historical writings of anthropologists, as if their methodologies were more productive of a broad understanding; in fact many of the conclusions reached have been prefigured in the writings of historians. It is perhaps inevitable that inter-disciplinarity favours one's home discipline. But given the richness of historical writings on the Pacific that deal with the social and political aspects of colonisation, Clay's use of secondary sources seems restricted and so constrains the representation of everyday interactions and the embodied effects of power. This work, like those of the historians mentioned above, seeks to tease out the complexities and contradictions within colonial encounters. Having a very specific geographical region as the field of study enables her to accomplish this superbly. Clay has undertaken anthropological research for many years in New Ireland, in Pinikindu, where some of the missionaries whose texts are the focus of her study lived. This gives a depth of knowledge about New Irelanders' experiences, responses and cultural conceptions of intercultural relationships. It adds authority to her analyses and speculations about the responses of local people to those white people who lived with them. Although it is not an explicit theme in the book, one of the strongest images that emerges is the marginality of whites to the everyday lives of local people. The distances and separations of the lives of whites from those of New Irelanders constantly reinforce the central subject of the book, alterity. The constant struggle that missionaries describe as they attempt to convert the local people and to enlist their services as workers, suppliers of food and supporters of mission endeavours tells a great deal about the specificities of the broad colonial relationship in Papua New...
The growth of sustainable development frameworks that emphasize the social dimension has created a need for new approaches to evaluate social performance. The paper describes the design and pilot of a social review conducted at the Lihir Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea. The aim was to investigate more integrated measures – understood as combining qualitative and quantitative measures, and bridging international and local community standards – of social performance. The paper discusses the demands of time and resources placed on a range of stakeholders as part of a review. It then identifies impediments to developing integrated approaches, and analyses these with reference to Power's (1999, 2003) discussion of an emerging audit culture, which focuses on management systems rather than first-order questions of quality and performance. The authors conclude that, while an audit culture influenced this pilot study, an integrated approach on these two dimensions remains an achievable goal. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
- Mar 2007
Free, prior and informed consent is increasingly perceived as a means of ensuring that people's human rights are respected and their interests protected. This paper explores issues arising in the context of gaining informed consent about mining projects from people who are citizens of a developing nation. Assumptions about rights, processes of negotiation, scientific knowledge and environmental degradation are often alien to the local people involved. Drawing on anthropological research in Papua New Guinea, the complex interactions between understandings of scientists, environmentalists, corporation managers and indigenous people are examined. The pragmatic problems of ensuring that informed consent is gained and that the human rights of local people are equitably protected are explored and some tentative solutions offered.
We describe and analyze changes in ideas of land and marine tenure and resource rights in the Lihir group of islands in Papua New Guinea as they have developed over a ten-year period. The paper examines some issues that have become contentious since goldmining mine began in the 1980s, analyzing the underlying principles of tenure and changing ideas of entitlement that inform them. Beginning with a description of the basic representation of tenure given to the anthropologists who worked there before mining began, we shall then examine the ways that clan ownership and communal rights over sacred sites have been influenced by notions of land having monetary value. We also explain some ways that rights of transmission and inheritance, claims for compensation, benefits from leasing, and transactions and emergent ideas of individual ownership have developed in the context of the mining project. In particular we look at disputes and tensions that have arisen in the context of a dramatic increase in population, changes in housing, transport and land use, and the monetization of the economy.
- Feb 2007
Inhabitants of Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, have traditionally relied on reef fishing and rotational farming of slash-burn forest plots for a subsistence diet. However, a new gold mine has introduced a cash economy to the island's socioeconomic system and impacted the fringing coral reef through sedimentation from the near-shore dumping of mine wastes. Studies of the Lihirian people have documented changes in population size, local customs, health, education, and land use; studies of the reef have documented impacts to fish populations in mine affected sites. Indirect effects from these impacts are complex and indecipherable when viewed only from isolated studies. Here, we use qualitative modelling to synthesize the social and biological research programs in order to understand the interaction of the human and ecological systems. Initial modelling results appear to be consistent with differences in fish and macroalgae populations in sites with and without coral degradation due to sedimentation. A greater cash flow from mine expansion is predicted to increase the human population, the intensity of the artisanal fishery, and the rate of sewage production and land clearing. Modelling results are being used to guide ongoing research projects, such as monitoring fish populations and artisanal catch and patterns and intensity of land clearing.
This introduction contextualizes the discussion of community responses to mining in Melanesia by looking first at the policies of minerals extraction and the shift of academic interest from economic development to the social effects of mining. As this collection concentrates on Papua New Guinea, an analysis of the sector and its problems in that country is briefly contrasted with the situation in other Pacific Island nations, canvassing the idea that the economic “resource curse” might have a social dimension. The varying interpretations of local impact and anthropological studies have challenged notions of unified interest or consensus at the local level, revealing ambivalence and contradictions. An overview of the contributions made in this special issue to current debates about stakeholder interests and economic sustainability is presented, showing that understandings of mining and its social consequences at each stage of the process are always inflected by the cultural conceptions of change, wealth, and resources that obtain in a community.
Photography is a powerful tool for persuading donors to support conservation programs in the Paciﬁc, but it frequently distorts the ecological concepts from which their legitimacy is derived. In this paper we argue that the images of charismatic wild life used to portray the Paciﬁc as a“pristine wilderness” of rainforest and reef, betray the hegemonic ideology underpinning both biodiversity conservation and its related ecotourism development projects.Key Words: Biodiversity, Pacific, photography, environmentalism
- Sep 2004
Attempts to improve overall rates of maternal and child survival and health in Pacific societies have often sought explanation in the traditional ideas and cultural practices that were assumed to discourage women from embracing introduced, modern medical services. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and data collected in the context of social monitoring of the impacts of a mining project on the Lihir islands, this paper describes a case in which women have rapidly adopted Western medical treatments and hospital birth, and experienced dramatic health benefits as a consequence. Ease of access, quality and reliability of service provision were considered most important influences affecting women’s decisions, with cultural beliefs rarely invoked as reasons for giving birth in a village. It argues that, in spite of sharing many of the ideas and practices that have elsewhere been considered impediments to acceptance of hospital care, Lihirian women have embraced the new system as epitomising their progression to modernity.
Our paper draws on research in two sites where large goldmining projects are located - Misima and Lihir islands in Papua New Guinea. We examine the socio-economic context in which criticisms of environmental degradation arise. We discuss the social and political meanings embedded in local demands for compensation for environmental damage, drawing attention to the disparities between local Melanesian conceptions of the environment and global, Western ideas that inform international environmentalist criticisms of mining. We dispute the 'romantic primitivism' of some environmentalist discourse, using the work of ethno-ecologists and case studies of specific incidents on these islands, contesting the view that there is a natural conservationist ethic in Melanesia. The image of the 'noble primitive ecologist' that some environmentalists appeal to, would in most circumstances be rejected by Melanesians as racist and paternalistic, but is embraced as a strategy in conflicts with mining companies and when making legal claims for compensation. Alliances formed between landowners, environmentalists and western lawyers against mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto are based more on shared political ends than on the epistemological consistency of their perceptions of environmental damage from mining. Local Melanesian communities claim sovereignty over all resources and their compensation claims for environmental degradation constitute a new form of resource rent.
Since the 1970s, people in Melanesian countries have been beguiled by the prospect of economic development that would enable them to participate in a world market economic system and so allow them to progress, to improve their standards of living and to take their places as independent nations in a modern world. The forms of participation available to them and those encouraged by international capital entailed the extraction of natural resources - minerals, timber and fish. In these enterprises, the 'developers' provided the capital and the Melanesians provided the resources and sometimes the cheap labor. These projects were also viewed as ways of supporting emergent independent national governments through equity agreements, taxes and royalties. 'Development' referred to both the economic and the political processes facilitated by resource extraction by multinational corporations. Globalization, like 'development,' is a loose term that describes or theorizes the processes whereby economic activities in these small islands are constituted within a broad financial and political landscape that is shaped by the distant, 'developed' nations and their linked corporations. It encompasses the financial, economic and political policies and practices of this imagined entity - the 'global economy' - and incorporates the communication made possible through electronic media. But 'globalization' also includes the emergence of 'global culture' and the dissemination of knowledge, ideas and desires. As with the economic imperatives, the cultural forces originate predominantly in
- Sep 2003
The goldmining project on Lihir Island in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, has brought dramatic socio-economic changes. In this matrilineal society, while women's economic contributions were substantial, their political status was not. Women's participation in decision-making about the mine has been restricted, mainly because men have excluded them. The mining company established a women's section that has supported the development of women's organizations and a range of economic development projects. The women's organizations provide the context for new political roles for women but have experienced many setbacks that are common in such groups across Papua New Guinea. Through the Lihir experience in the first five years of the mine, this paper examines the tensions and divided loyalties that constrain women's organizations and often lead to the failure of income-generating women's projects in Papua New Guinea.
- Jan 2002
Our paper draws on research in two sites where large goldmining projects are located — Misima and Lihir islands in Papua New Guinea. We examine the socio-economic context in which criticisms of environmental degradation arise. We discuss the social and political meanings embedded in local demands for compensation for environmental damage, drawing attention to the disparities between local Melanesian conceptions of the environment and global, Western ideas that inform international environmentalist criticisms of mining. We dispute the 'romantic primitivism' of some environmentalist discourse, using the work of ethno-ecologists and case studies of specific incidents on these islands, contesting the view that there is a natural conservationist ethic in Melanesia. The image of the 'noble primitive ecologist' that some environmentalists appeal to, would in most circumstances be rejected by Melanesians as racist and paternalistic, but is embraced as a strategy in conflicts with mining companies and when making legal claims for compensation. Alliances formed between landowners, environmentalists and western lawyers against mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto are based more on shared political ends than on the epistemological consistency of their perceptions of environmental damage from mining. Local Melanesian communities claim sovereignty over all resources and their compensation claims for environmental degradation constitute a new form ofS resource rent.
At West Nggela, access to high value marine invertebrate stocks is controlled by consanguineal corporate groups holding primary rights (which include rights of exclusion) over reefs bearing these stocks. Disputes over primary rights appear to result in a breakdown in management practices, resulting in overfishing and severe depletion of stocks. An understanding of the common causes of disputes is therefore of considerable importance to marine resource management, and development, in this region. This paper outlines first the essential, or 'ideal', processes of descent reckoning and property transfer that underpin the Customary Marine Tenure (CMT) system at West Nggela as they are presented to 'outsiders' such as government officials and anthropologists. It then deals with some of the many exceptions to this norm, and the ways these variations can contribute to disputes over primary rights to property. The pressures of economic development, and the resultant commodification of resources and property, in our view catalyse the conflict between the ideal, simplified model and the complexity of actual praxis in respect to property rights. Recent dramatic increases in the perceived value of many properties as a result of proposed lucrative developments may underlie present day conflicts which in the past would not have arisen. Examples are drawn from interview data as well as case studies of two formal property disputes which were heard in local courts at West Nggela in 1995.
- Jan 1994
Battaglia, Debbora. On the Bones of the Serpent: Person, Memory and Mortality in Sabarl Island Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. x + 252 pp. including appendix, notes, references, and index. $41.00 cloth, $14.95 paper.Biersack, Aletta, ed. Clio in Oceania: Toward a Historical Anthropology. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991. vii + 383 pp. including chapter references. $37.40 cloth.Damon, Frederick H. From Muyuw to the Trobriands: Transformations along the Northern Side of the Kula Ring. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1990. xvi + 285 pp. including appendix, notes, bibliography, and index. $35.00 cloth.
In this thesis I examine processes of economic and social change and the ways in which they have transformed the small island community of Tubetube in Milne Bay Province, P.N.G. since contact. The study is based on anthropological fieldwork and historical research and proceeds from an analysis of modern economy. Prior to European intervention in the region, Tubetube people were sea-faring traders who were able to support a large population on imported goods. They were participants in the network of inter-island exchange called kune (kula) and my study of the economic changes which affected trading relationships entails an assessment of Tubetube kune over the last hundred years. I argue that pacification, the introduction of European goods, and the Christian conversion of the Tubetube people effected profound changes in their trading economy and the system of alliances between separate communities. I explore the nature of these changes and the conservative ideologies of exchange which have sustained and adapted to new political relationships and economic strategies.
Two years ago when I was in Lihir working on the research that I draw on in this paper I asked a woman with whom I work: "What does money do?" She replied " It makes men drunk and young women single mothers – money has spoiled this place." In 1994 Filer predicted various forms of 'social disintegration' for Lihir. Great economic inequalities that now exist, violent arguments, once rare, are commonplace. Millions of kina has been spent on beer. The simultaneous introduction of beer, roads crimes and motor vehicles has its own devastating effect. Here I explore familial and interpersonal relations as they are mediated through money and commodities. I want to emphasise the way that money does change everything – and that women's (and men's) ways of dealing with the changes affect their lives and their families. While I have been researching these issues in three different settings, today I shall concentrate on my research with employees on the mining project on Lihir, New Ireland Province. Having worked there for several months of each year since 1995, before the mine began, I have been witness to the ways that people introduce money as a substitute for traditional exchange goods, to the increasing personalization of gifts of money and bought items, and to the interpersonal tensions generated by expectations surrounding wage earning.
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