Accepted paper:

"Sovereign debt crisis", subterranean politics and the emergence of political subjectivities: The case of a gold mine in North Greece


Effrosyni Rantou (York University)

Paper short abstract:

My paper explores the ways collective resistance against the gold mining in a forest of North Greece and the re-appropriation of the forests as a potential negotiating tool reshapes crucial questions of emancipatory politics that inform the notions of citizenship and the public realm.

Paper long abstract:

In the wake of crisis-driven market reforms and increasing local concerns over environmental conditions in Greece, mines have become political borders through which systems of power redistribute sociopolitical tensions at local, national and international levels. Taking mines as 'thresholds' of knowledge, memory, and power in this work I ask: how are political subjectivities and national identities negotiated and contested around gold mining in Northern Greece? Specifically, how are local sociopolitical terrains reconfigured by mining activities in the midst of "sovereign debt crisis"? How do local activists and their networks operate with, within and against this terrain to create political possibility? In 2012, in the shadow of the ongoing "sovereign debt crisis" the Canadian mining company El Dorado, which owns 99% of the Greek company Hellas Gold, began razing the ancient forest of Skouries in Chalkidiki, in North Greece to extract gold. Large demonstrations and violent clashes followed, with the miners and the police usually being on one side and the anti-mining groups on the other, turning the forest of Skouries into a battlefield. Beyond ongoing local conflict, the mining activity has also provoked friction at the level of the state and the European Union in the form of legal battles. While anti-mining supporters celebrate the delay of the mining activities, the European Commission warns that repelling foreign investors is against the memorandum of the austerity measures that the government has signed. The mine has produced a "Crisis-scape" and forms of political responsiveness never before seen in Greece.

panel P062
Transnational corporations, industrial disasters and environmental hazards. Allocating moral and legal responsibilities across different national contexts [Law Net]