Alchemy in the Rain Forest: Politics, Ecology, and Resilience in a New Guinea Mining Area
This chapter examines the interrelations between human production and the biophysical environment to illustrate how Porgerans conceive of human agency as essential for producing nature and society through work and exchange. This chapter also demonstrates the ways that Porgerans work to create social groups that ensure flexibility in terms of group composition and land-tenure dynamics. A critical aspect of Porgeran social organization is the expectation that people will live and interact with as many of their social groups as they can. In a cognatic society like Porgera, the number of potential kin groups for any one individual is quite large. The advent of mining development has led to the truncation of social networks, leading to increases in violence.