In Search of “The Complete Story”: Indigenous Peoples and Structural Inequalities in Global Policy Planning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Global/national policy planning is guided by economic methods and predictions of growth, where indicators of success are measured according to a dominant view of progress and sustainable development. Yet, despite widespread ratification of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples remain unrepresented in this dominant view. The structural and historical forces informing global policy thus inadvertently produce a pathway of development that is characterized by political, economic, and social exclusion where Indigenous Peoples’ agency, heritage, and culture remain marginalized. I argue that socio-cultural nuance (“the complete story”) is critical to policy planning if we are to honor the principal aim of the Sustainable Development Goals – “leave no-one behind”. This and other policy frameworks need an approach that is neither framed by Eurocentric objectives nor bound by measurable indicators. This requires consideration of Indigenous Worldviews in a way that mediates diverse social, economic, and political factors. In this chapter, I examine the limitations in current policy consultation practice, with a specific focus on the extractive industries sector, and examine the ways in which engagement with Indigenous Peoples’ “complete story” might inform policy in the pursuit of a sustainable development that leaves no-one behind and creates a bridge between dominant and marginalized forms of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in Economic Anthropology
Subtitle of host publicationAnthropological Enquiries Into Policy, Debt, Business And Capitalism
EditorsDonald C. Wood
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-83909-658-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-83909-659-4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2020

Publication series

NameResearch in Economic Anthropology
ISSN (Print)0190-1281


  • SDGs, community development, extractive industry, Papua New Guinea [Ok Tedi], mining
  • Mining
  • Extractive industry
  • Papua New Guinea [Ok Tedi]
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Policy planning
  • Sustainable development

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