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Title: Working out abjection in the Panapompom bêche-de-mer fishery: Race, economic change and the future in Papua New Guinea
Authors: Rollason, W
Keywords: Race;Papua New Guinea;Economic change;Work
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Australian Anthropological Society
Citation: The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 21(2), 149 - 170, 2010
Abstract: This is a paper about how men from Panapompom, an island in Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), understand how they relate to white people and imagine the future. Until recently, men from Panapompom understood themselves to be engaged in a project of ‘development’, in which they would become more and more similar to white people. This was a desirable future. However, changes in the way Panapompom men work for money have resulted in a very different imagination of the future—one in which Panapompom people are not getting whiter, but blacker, and hence more and more excluded from the lives to which they aspire. Men now dive for bêche-de-mer, work which they regard as being particularly hard and dangerous. Diving has profound effects on the skin, blackening and hardening it, leading Panapompom men to liken themselves to the machines that create the wealth that white people use. These ‘mechanising’ effects that diving has on the black body lead men to see white people as the sole beneficiaries of the bêche-de-mer industry, and black people as mere tools or extensions. For bêche-de-mer divers, value and desired forms of life are lodged in Australia, Europe or America, while they find themselves excluded from this future by their growing blackness.
Description: This is the accepted version of the following article: Rollason, W. (2010), Working out abjection in the Panapompom bêche-de-mer fishery: Race, economic change and the future in Papua New Guinea. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 21: 149–170. doi: 10.1111/j.1757-6547.2010.00076.x, which has been published in final form at
ISSN: 1035-8811
Appears in Collections:Anthropology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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