Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance

What's it about?

"Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance significantly expands our understanding of the extent of resource extraction in the 21st century. Indeed, it argues that resource extraction plays a central role in defining our time and the character of our greatest existential threat - climate change" says John-Andrew McNeish, co-editor of the book alongside American University's Judith Shapiro. 

"A distinctive contribution of the book is the emphasis that resource extraction has planetary dimensions and its observation that moves towards green transformation and a transition to renewable energy replicate similar patterns of violence and the exploitation of society and planet to early non-renewable resource extraction", he explains.

"Also significant is its emphasis that extraction is not an accident or side effect, but rather a core logic of 21 century capitalism. An extractivist logic has rationalized the violence of removal, dispossession and pollution that are the hallmarks of our hyper-extractive age" argues McNeish, a social anthropologist and professor at NMBU who also co-wrote the book.

From the publisher:

"Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance emphasizes how the spectrum of violence associated with natural resource extraction permeates contemporary collective life.

Chronicling the increasing rates of brutal suppression of local environmental and labor activists in rural and urban sites of extraction, this volume also foregrounds related violence in areas we might not expect, such as infrastructural developments, protected areas for nature conservation, and even geoengineering in the name of carbon mitigation.

Contributors argue that extractive violence is not an accident or side effect, but rather a core logic of the 21st Century planetary experience. Acknowledgement is made not only of the visible violence involved in the securitization of extractive enclaves, but also of the symbolic and structural violence that the governance, economics, and governmentality of extraction have produced. Extractive violence is shown not only to be a spectacular event, but an extended dynamic that can be silent, invisible, and gradual.

The volume also recognizes that much of the new violence of extraction has become cloaked in the discourse of green development, green building, and efforts to mitigate the planetary environmental crisis through totalizing technologies. Ironically, green technologies and other contemporary efforts to tackle environmental ills often themselves depend on the continuance of social exploitation and the contaminating practices of non-renewable extraction. But as this volume shows, resistance is also as multi-scalar and heterogeneous as the violence it inspires".

The book includes chapters on the violence and the politics of violence in the extraction industries by NMBU staff and students including John-Andrew McNeish (co-editor), Katharina Glaab and Kirsti Stuvøy.

Who should read it?

The book is essential reading for activists and for students and scholars of environmental politics, natural resource management, political ecology, sustainable development, and globalization.

Join the launch of the book
Thursday 20th May, 16:00-17:30 GMT. Hosted by the University of Helsinki's EXALT programme (Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative), the digital event includes an introduction by the editors, discussion by the authors, and an interactive Q&A session with the audience.  

Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance

Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance

University of Helsinki

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Published 11. May 2021 - 9:31 - Updated 18. May 2021 - 15:57