Systems of arrogance: Technology and the work of Navajo resistance.
AuthorSherry, John William.
KeywordsForest policy -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Forest management -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Forests and forestry-- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Environmentalism -- Navajo Indian Reservation.
Committee ChairHill, Jane H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation adopts the perspective of Cognitive Ethnography to examine the work of a grassroots, Navajo environmental organization called Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment. Specifically, I will examine the work and the challenges facing the members of this organization in order to evaluate how new communications and information technologies may be of use to them. This analysis begins, as Cognitive Ethnography mandates, with a general description of the tasks which constitute the work of Diné CARE. As will be discussed, these consist primarily in attempts to reassert what the organization's members consider to be traditional Navajo perspectives on economic development and the human relationship with the natural environment. Subsequently, I analyze the representations, measurements of work, and forms of organization required to accomplish Diné CARE's tasks. In all aspects of the work, members were constantly required to manage a dialogue between their preferred means of organizing or representing work, and the means required by the operating environment in which they found themselves, characterized primarily by relationships with various outside sources of legal, technical or financial support. The work of Diné CARE is thus extensively "dialogic." While members continually drew on Navajo traditions for viewing the relationship of human beings to the natural environment, for representing their work, and for building cooperative access to resources for resistance, they were nonetheless required at the same time to position these "traditional" approaches against approaches whose history of development have political, social and cultural roots in Western Europe and modem America. Often, this dialogue brought with it tension and even morally charged conflict for the members of Diné CARE. This tension extended to emerging technologies as well. In spite of many claims to the contrary, new communications and information technologies did little to alleviate the mismatch between "local" and "foreign" ways of doing work. Instead of "empowering" local communities by providing them access to information or the chance to be heard on their own terms, new technologies complicated the scenario of local resistance by requiring practices for representing work which were both difficult to master and often inappropriate.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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