Accepted Paper:

The main concepts and issues of "anthropology of oil"  


Elena Miskova (Moscow State University )

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of the presentation is to discuss the most recent conceptualizations of social relations connected with extracting resources, meanings and symbols from subsurface terrains.

Paper long abstract:

In my presentation I'm going to address to the broad issues of "subterranean estates" - to borrow the title of one of the last collections of articles - by observing latest approaches and theories in social studies of oil and gas. Researches in this expanding domain take advantage of such concepts as biopolitics, deep oil and deep culture, crude domination and etc. This allows them to move the issue to the broader context of obtaining vital resources in modern societies and ordering the social relations, which is connected and structured by this process. The infrustructure as discussed as specific culture of planning and organizing of Soviet social spaces. The modes of dominations appear as regimes of culturally structured desire to resist or to access to resource. All these theoretical framing work to redefine not only the conceptual but disciplinary research boundaries. The old distinctions between human agency and longer-run structures are blurred in such diverse contexts.

The analogy between the subsurface depths and the depths of culturally organized understanding by the people of boundaries and meanings of their lives returns us to anthropology as an exciting analysis of social imagination.

And of course I hope to pay attention and discuss some turning points and controversial issues of theory theorization in this domain.

Panel P050
Engaging with treasures of the subsurface between extractivism and spiritualism