In this vivid ethnography, Paige West tracks coffee as it moves from producers in Papua New Guinea to consumers around the world. She illuminates the social lives of the people who produce coffee, and those who process, distribute, market, and consume it. The Gimi peoples, who grow coffee in Papua New Guinea's highlands, are eager to expand their business and social relatiIn this vivid ethnography, Paige West tracks coffee as it moves from producers in Papua New Guinea to consumers around the world. She illuminates the social lives of the people who produce coffee, and those who process, distribute, market, and consume it. The Gimi peoples, who grow coffee in Papua New Guinea's highlands, are eager to expand their business and social relationships with the buyers who come to their highland villages, as well as with the people working in Goroka, where much of Papua New Guinea's coffee is processed; at the port of Lae, where it is exported; and in Hamburg, Sydney, and London, where it is distributed and consumed. This rich social world is disrupted by neoliberal development strategies, which impose prescriptive regimes of governmentality that are often at odds with Melanesian ways of being in, and relating to, the world. The Gimi are misrepresented in the specialty coffee market, which relies on images of primitivity and poverty to sell coffee. By implying that the "backwardness" of Papua New Guineans impedes economic development, these images obscure the structural relations and global political economy that actually cause poverty in Papua New Guinea....
|Title||:||From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea|
|Number of Pages||:||336 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea Reviews
I was poking around for more books on Papua New Guinea, and found the eBook of this at the library where I work. I hadn't considered reading an entire book about the crop production in one region, but here it is. In fact this is more of an econoethnography, as the anthropologist is a longterm researcher in this area of Papua New Guinea, and decides to focus on coffee for this book with chapter names like "neoliberal coffee" and "village coffee.""Among coffee experts,... Papua New Guinea coffee is variously described as 'sweetly acidic with mild to medium body and fruity undertones,' having 'uniquely wild notes in the cup with a fruity endnote,'... and 'full-bodied with a thick texture and a smooth and soft aftertaste.'"After reading Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea, where she mentions the growth of the coffee industry in PNG (from the perspective of the mid 90s), I ordered some PNG coffee online. I wanted to taste something connected to the land, and banana pancakes were not enough!I was choosing between Peet's and Counter Culture Coffee, I ended up ordering the Baroida from Counter Culture, a single-origin coffee from the eastern highland region. And from this book I know almost 400,000 households in PNG grow coffee, with 30 percent of those households from the same province my pound of coffee came from.Part of the book is about how coffee is marketed, with primitivism and poverty used frequently as selling points. The fact that I, an American middleclass woman in my mid-30s, purchased this coffee, means the marketing specifically targeting me as a coffee customer COMPLETELY WORKED. At least Counter Culture doesn't seem to be emphasizing their poverty or "thirdworldedness" the way some coffee importers do. The description on the website reflects the story in this book, that this is one more family growing coffee that used to sell to exporters that would blend it with other coffees, but now sells to exporters that will market it as single-origin, a step which has brought more money as the coffee market changes.Apparently people from different countries value different things about coffee. Americans are most likely to choose a coffee or a coffee shop based on how it makes us feel, whether that's comfort or sameness or helping someone out of poverty (it's different for different generations.) Germans (according to West) value the intricate blends of coffees, whatever produces the best overall taste, and they don't care about the story. Other little fascinating facts:"One of every three people in Papua New Guinea is connected to the coffee industry in some way."The connection between coffee, independence, and the economy:"Coffee is one of the things that force us to act like a nation." - PNG government official"Expatriates in New Guinea... have a saying about the people that come to New Guinea. They say that they are 'misfits, missionaries and mercenaries.'""Despite the important economic role that coffee plays in their lives, people in Maimafu do not drink coffee. They do not like it. It is thought of as bitter and tasting rather like soil."
This was an assigned book for an Anthropology course I took. I think it was well researched and written. I can tell the author truly cared for the people she was writing about and this book opened my eyes to a lot of "fair trade" buying that I was not aware of. I did find myself trailing off from the writing because it's such a long book and sometimes it was a little overkill, but honestly, it's a great book. Wonderful job.
Everyone who tries to buy "fair trade", "organic" or "green" should read this book, especially coffee drinkers. Yes, a bit of guilt, but knowledge is power! Essentially, the system is too screwed up for us to change just by drinking "fair trade" coffee. It's a great first step, but we need to do more. The only reason I'm not finishing this book, at the moment, is that I need to move on to other homework reading. This is definitely a book I could see buying and finishing later.