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Accepted Paper:

The Truth about Mining: Corporate Cartographies and its Contestations  
Karolien van Teijlingen (Radboud University)

Paper short abstract:

Corporate cartography plays a pivotal yet understudied role in upholding a particular ‘regime of truth’ around mining and ultimately producing territories of extraction. Through a case-study on mining in the Ecuadorian Amazon, this presentation will deconstruct these maps and show how they are contested through counter-maps that represent alternative way of knowing a particular space.

Paper long abstract:

In the extractive industries, maps are widely used to indicate the location of resources, planned infrastructure, potential socio-environmental impacts and mitigation measures. Through their prominence in environmental impact assessments and licensing procedures, these corporate maps inform and legitimize decision-making and interventions in areas of mineral extraction. As such, corporate cartography does not only play a pivotal role in representing (knowledge of) a particular space, but also in actively producing it. Corporate maps are, however, rarely subjected to in-depth examination by scholars on mining conflicts.

Based on Foucault’s writings on power/knowledge (Foucault 1980), I conceive of corporate cartography as an essential part of a ‘regime of truth’ around mining. In order to unravel its workings, I present a case-study of the role of maps in mining conflicts in the Ecuadorian Amazon. With this case-study, I first aim to deconstruct the way in which corporate maps are assembled, legitimized and mobilized to uphold a discourse of ‘responsible mining’ in conflicts over extraction. Second, I examine the way in which grassroots counter-mappings challenge these dominant representations by furthering alternative, more sentient and embodied, ways of knowing and mapping a particular space. I conclude by arguing for an increased attention to corporate cartography and its contestations in exploring the power/knowledge dynamics and power relations around the expansion of the mining frontier.

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