How does the earth's subsurface become visible and knowable, and why does knowledge about the effects of mining and extraction often remain buried?
The papers in this panel all grapple with questions of ignorance and invisibility as they pertain to the extractive processes of mining and other forms of natural resource development. This is a rich new area for the field of STS, unearthing insights about the expertise, knowledge, and power animating extractive practices. The mapping and extraction of underground resources are technoscientific practices that engage multiple, and sometimes competing, forms of expertise. An STS perspective on extraction examines the technoscientific aspects of how questions about extraction are posed and deliberated, how extraction itself occurs, and how the consequences of such extraction are addressed. Underlying each of these areas are issues of knowledge, expertise and power. How does the earth's subsurface become visible and knowable, and why does knowledge about the effects of mining and extraction often remain buried?