Dispossession and the Environment

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Rhetoric and Inequality in Papua New Guinea
Barnard College
Dispossession and the Environment: Rhetoric and Inequality in Papua New Guinea (Columbia University Press) by Paige West, project director for the Pacific Climate Circuits working group, explores how representations of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) alleged “savagery” operate as a mode of dispossession in domains like tourism, conservation, and resource extraction.The book explains how Western corporations and governments repeatedly invoke rhetoric that casts PNG as a primitive place.  This rhetoric enables specialists from industries centered on tourism, environmental conservation, and petrochemical development to “hollow out” the country’s sovereign agency and replace it with their own interests.