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Accepted Paper:

A dying village: mining and the experiential condition of displacement  
Hedda Haugen Askland (University of Newcastle)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the temporal dimension of mining through consideration of how competing ecologies of time underpin displacement. I adopt the triad nost-, solast-, and erit-algia to explore how place-based distress due to mining intertwines lived experiences of the past, present and future.

Paper long abstract:

On the edge of the Great Dividing Range in the Mid-Western Region of New South Wales, Australia, sits a small village called Wollar. Beneath grand sandstone cliffs and surrounded by agricultural land, the historic village presents an image of tranquillity and peace. Yet this apparent tranquillity is underpinned by an unfolding battle for survival. The village is enveloped by three large open-cut coal mines. The proximity to the mines and the competition for land have led to a rapid depopulation of the township, and those who remain have become exposed to increased environmental and social risks. The village is currently facing threat of further mine expansion, with the boundaries of the mine closest to the village being set only 1.5km away. The extension proposal has been described as the 'community's death sentence'.

Through reflection on ethnographic material from Wollar, this paper explores the emergence of displacement as an experiential condition of loss in which temporalities of the past, present and the future are intricately interwoven. I argue that to understand the local, social and communal impacts of the mining activity, mining must be approached not just as a transformation of space but, indeed, a transformation of place, in which the interconnections between the biophysical, social and spiritual are negotiated through distinct temporalities. I adopt the triad nostalgia, solastalgia and eritalgia to enable the exploration of place-based distress in response to the past, present and future.

Panel P017
Mining temporalities: ideas, experiences and politics of time in extractive industries [Anthropology of Mining Network]
  Session 1