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Accepted Paper:

Dynamics of nonknowledge/knowledge production in extractive activities  
Julianna Colonna (University of Pau (France))

Paper short abstract:

This proposition examines the analytical use of nonknowledge-knowledge production to increase understanding of power relations in extractive activities. Analysis capable of shedding light on the creation of new subjectivities related to the characteristics of a territory and its vocation.

Paper long abstract:

Nonknowledge production – directly connected to knowledge production (Böschen & Wehling, 2010; Ravetz, 1987) – can be understood as a quiet and subtle tactic (Frederiksen and Himley, 2020) to maintain and expand extractive activities, an instrument (Foucault, 1991) that reflects power relations and produces new subjectivities (Frederiksen and Himley, 2020).

Nonknowledge is something one does not know, regardless of reasons, implications, or the theoretical possibility of “overcoming” this gap (Böschen et al., 2006). Industrial secrets, monopoly of knowledge production are examples present in extraction projects, as the underground exploitation in the Industrial site of Lacq, in French Southwest rural region, industrialized since the ‘50s.

I argue that the dynamics of nonknowledge-knowledge production has transformed two subjectivities. Firstly, the non-permanent territory characteristics gained a vertical interest (Braun, 2000; Elden, 2013) from a dismissed tiny and dangerous reserve of gas once to an area with sufficient gas to be safely explored. Secondly, the region vocation, a rural area with an after-gas plan in the ‘50s, to an industrial site able to adapt itself to expand extraction in time and to incorporate the climate action in it. This was possible through a combination of slight gas exploration and underground storage where undesirable wastes, carbon among them, can be definitively stored theoretically.

The analysis of the nonknowledge-knowledge dynamic shows how unequal power relations (Henry, 2020) are “systematically inscribed” (Jas, 2015) in them. And how they reinforce these two subjectivities, allowing extraction to spread in time and deeper territories.

Panel P163a
Extractive governmentalities: articulating top-down and bottom-up views [Anthropology of Mining Network]
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -