Download Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French by Peter Redfield PDF

By Peter Redfield

Rockets roar into space—bearing approximately part the world's advertisement satellites—from an analogous South American coastal rainforest the place convicts as soon as did time on notorious Devil's Island. What makes Space within the Tropics captivating is anthropologist Peter Redfield's skill to attract from those disparate ecu tasks in French Guiana a sparkling internet of principles in regards to the intersections of nature and tradition. In evaluating the Franco-European Ariane rocket application with the sooner penal scan, Redfield connects the parable of Robinson Crusoe, nineteenth-century felony reform, the Dreyfus Affair, tropical medication, postwar exploration of outer area, satellite tv for pc expertise, improvement, and ecotourism with a spotlight on position, and the incorporation of this actual position into higher prolonged structures. analyzing the broader context of the Ariane application, he argues that expertise and nature needs to be understood inside a better ecology of displacement and makes a case for the significance of margins in knowing the trajectories of recent life.

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Example text

How, I wondered, could a long colonial history, including periods of plantation slavery and penal colonization, lead to a demand of “the right to work for all”? As time passed and my research continued, I began to realize that an obsession with “development”—or rather its persistent absence—ran deeply through the soil of French Guiana, inseparable from the history of the colony beneath the department. Here I will sketch the background of that history, to better position the two projects that most concern us.

Established in 1852, the penal colony failed to live up to its initial billing as a substitute source of agricultural labor; however, in fits and starts, its lingering presence deeply influenced the flow of goods and services as well as the reputation of the colony. 17 It also became the focus of much of the export activity on the part of the civil population, who were lured by the promise of quick wealth, and it remains a significant part of the cultural mythology of Guyanais society. 18 Although arbitration severed the French territory from grandiose claims south and east to the Amazon (Switzerland awarding the area to Brazil), as the twentieth century dawned this particular colony remained on its erratic course.

Chapter 3 returns to the early nineteenth century to examine the background to the founding of the penal colony in 1852, surveying prison debates, the model of Australia, the shifting background of emancipation and labor questions in French Guiana’s plantation system against dilemmas of criminality in urbanizing France, and the reintroduction of deportation following the 1848 revolution. The latter part of the chapter covers the establishment of the penal colony and the techniques of its early administration, including the search for a successful site within French Guiana and the establishment of a rival institution in New Caledonia.

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