Anna Tsing's book "Friction" is a fine example of Bhabha's hybridity in the slippages between cultural tropes. Environmentalist hopes and dreams are tattered in the present world. The failure of the USA to combat global warming for one great example. Her ethnographic work was especially meaningful in light of the global development going on. As the big global picture is made of many little enclaves, her exposure of the inner workings of capital, province, village, in her final chapters was right on. She brought to light the student nature lover's ties betwixt the villagers and the cosmojetset environmental movement working to change the direction of one little portion of the Island's forest with provincial and capital governments. On the ground reporting is always more revealing than media blurbs put out by organizations with axes to grind. Tsing's axe was very sharp in cutting through the mess made by current western development. The replacement of swidden agriculture with monoculture is especially disturbing when the people are considered in context. Her method of reading the different levels of hierarchy involved brought the whole picture into focus, especially her list of species. That was particularly significant to me, as I am very concerned about the disappearance of species, especially indigenous humans, resulting from wanton clearcutting. As the rainforests go away to be replaced by single species propagation of crops and grazing lands, monoculture forestry and the toxic refuse of environmental damage the carbon sinks that have kept our biosphere a living thing go away, too. What to do about it is the question. Organizations that claim to be helping are constantly hitting on me for money, including all the big NGO names in environmentalism. As they siphon away the dollars of concerned people in the North to spend on their corporate agendas, real progress in the fight against rampant, over the top development of the South continues to wain. What can the concerned citizenry of the western democracies do to stem the capitalist rape of our planet? The ideology of profitmaking on the backs of indigenous peoples is deeply embedded in the global economy. America is especially guilty. Tsing didn't carry the attack to the USA with the kind of vigor I would expect. It is the policies of the USA that leads the international phalanx against big N Nature. Meanwhile, little n nature is swindled out of her natural resources. The United Nations seems to be complicit, and powerless. The western democracies will do nothing. The developing environmental monster, China, continues to pollute the world. No end in sight. It is disheartening to say the least. The glimmer of hope that "Friction" offers in her exposure of the dynamics between the tangled human hierarchy with indigenous villagers on the bottom and Capitalist investors on the top, and in between the bureaucracies, environmental activists and nature lovers trying to do something in this cauldron is running out of time. This slow progress in tiny pinpoints on the global map is not encouraging. Trying to think of something positive to say I can only come up with the fact that Tsing cites Kimberly Christen (2004) in note 5. That is hopeful.
Question: Should I support environmental/corporate NGOs like Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy, when they seem to be fundraising fronts and corporate shills? Question: Will the end of our marvelous biosphere come sooner than we think? Question: Can we intellectualize this away?