Accepted Paper:

Mining and displacement: introducing the concept of eritalgia  


Hedda Haugen Askland (University of Newcastle)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I explore displacement as a moral dilemma intrinsic to mining. I introduce a third component to the conceptual dyad nostalgia-solastalgia, which adds a phenomenological, future-looking element to the question of displacement as it forms part of exogenously generated land-use change.

Paper long abstract:

Resettlement and displacement are embedded elements of the moral encounters of mineral extraction. Dislocation and relocation (or rehabilitation) are, however, not necessarily migratory patterns consisting of physical movement. Conversely, these phenomena—in particular displacement—can occur when still 'in place'. Albrecht (2005) has termed this sense of homelessness solastalgia, which he defines as 'the pain or sickness caused by the loss or lack of solace and the sense of isolation connected to the present state of one's home or territory' (Albrecht 2005: 45). Solastalgia entails a 'ghost reference' to nostalgia. In contrast to nostalgia, which refers to the longing or pain caused by the loss of a place—real or imagined—of the past, solastalgia points to the sickness or disruption derived from present physical desolation. Through reflection on ethnographic material from the Upper Hunter, I seek in this paper to expand this dyadic construct by introducing a third concept—eritalgia—to understand desolation, disruption and displacement as the sickness, pain or distress endured when the connection between lived realities and ones imagined future self (in place) is broken. I will explain the conceptual triad, and examine how each of the concepts can be seen as descriptions of the existential condition of loss, as it manifests in relation to the past, the present and the future. The paper will look at how displacement due to mining retains a sense of coercion, and will pose questions about the moral dilemmas of settlement, displacement, relocation and repatriation (efforts of continuity) as they relate to large-scale extraction projects.

Panel Tem01
Technological visions of the future: political ontologies and ethics