Harvesting Development

The Construction of Fresh Food Markets in Papua New Guinea

by Karl Benediktsson

320 pp., richly illustrated
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Hardback - 2002, Available
ISBN 978 87 87062 92 3, £40.00
Paperback - 2002, Available
ISBN 978 87 87062 91 6, £17.99

This book addresses the global–local tension evident in much work on development issues, through the example of fresh food markets in Papua New Guinea. A key feature is the author’s skilful and inventive interweaving of theoretical constructs with a detailed ethnography of marketing networks, at the rural village and the urban market-place, as well as in the ‘spaces in between’.

The work shows the rural community not as an isolated universe, but as consisting of dynamic linkages and networks which extend way beyond the locality. At the same time, local actors with their own agendas and interpretations of the metanarrative of ‘development’ are shown to be crucially important for shaping the outcome of the market integration process.

This book is of relevance to geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and economists dealing with development issues. It is also an important read for Oceanianists/Melanesianists as it tackles processes and problems, which few ethnographers, who have worked in Papua New Guinea, have made their central concern. It is suitable for courses in development studies, geography and human ecology, and Oceanic studies, at advanced undergraduate or postgraduate level. While it deals with complex theoretical issues, it is written in a clear and accessible language. This makes the book a worthwhile read also for those outside of academia, for instance in government or international agencies, who work with rural development issues and design and monitor development projects.

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