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Biblioteca Strengthening the State: Logging and neoliberal politics in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Strengthening the State: Logging and neoliberal politics in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Strengthening the State: Logging and neoliberal politics in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

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Date of publication
Setembro 2018
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID
OSF_preprint:461F8-C5E-F63

In this paper I will examine how logging in Papua New Guinea affects the relationship between the state and the local communities on whose lands logging operations take place. The point of departure of my argument is the Ili- Wawas Integrated Project, a combined logging and agricultural project which seeks to bring economic development to the remote Pomio district of East New Britain Province by connecting existing logging roads to the limited national road network around the provincial capital. Developing the national road network and creating standardized or—to use James Scott’s concept—legible environments can be seen as an integral part of state-making and strengthening the role of the state. In addition to the environment, the state also needs to make social life legible in forms of maps, censuses and laws. As I will argue in my paper, the Ili-Wawas, and other similar projects, may indeed strengthen the role of the state not only by creating the infrastructure and legibility needed by the state, but also in unintended and accidental ways. The side effects of logging and road building include, among others, fear of crime and land disputes. It is these that create among the locals a perceived need for state institutions, which may be as significant in advancing the role of the state as is the creation of infrastructure and legibility.

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Tuomas Tammisto

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