Agency and the «Avatar» narrative at the Porgera gold mine, Papua New Guinea

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    The Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea is a subject of contention in the international development community. Anthropologists are among a range of scholars who have investigated community-mine relations since 1981, as solo postgraduate students, as leaders of university research teams, as members of social impact assessment teams, and as members of an oversight body. Recently, in a leading journal, the ngo activist Catherine Coumans accused the anthropologists who have taken on advisory or impact assessment roles of lending legitimacy to the commercial interests of the mining company, while 'remaining silent' about environmental damage and human rights abuses. This paper looks at the various accounts of Porgera in terms of 'narratives' of mining, leading to a close examination of the Coumans' portrayal of the mine through the lens of an Avatar narrative, after the film of this name. The paper presents evidence to reject the arguments of Coumans.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-52
    JournalJournal of the Societe des Oceanistes (Journal de la societe des oceanistes/Journal societe des oceanistes)
    Issue number2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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