Chapter

The Nature of Work

Peter Redfield

in Space in the Tropics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219847
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923423 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520219847.003.0008
The Nature of Work

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This chapter moves from questions of nature back to ones related to technology and development. It compares ecologies of work in the penal colony and the space center, and the place of improvisation within each design, as well as their status as separate states within states relative to the rest of French Guiana. Construction of a large dam at Petit Saut and debates over two roads in the summer of 1994 brought oppositions within Guyanais society to the surface. The shift from the rural settlements envisioned in the penal colony to the urban professional norms of the space center reflects wider trends of material culture and a new scale of mobility and connection that affect thought and practice. Returning from nature to culture and the ever-expanding island of civilization amid the forest, the quality of human action involved in transforming these landscapes is considerable.

Keywords: labor; penal colony; rural settlements; urban professional norms; space center; Guyanais society; ecologies of work; technology

Chapter.  12239 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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