Accepted Paper:

Expanding coal and gas extraction in Queensland, Australia  


Alexandra Mercer (University of Queensland)

Paper short abstract:

New coal and gas projects in Australia are fiercely contested. Some of the stakes and forces at play are global in scale. Exploring connections between the political economic context and the way people involved talk about the issues allows anthropologists to offer a deeper analysis of events.

Paper long abstract:

New coal and gas projects in Australia are fiercely contested. The stakes are high, and the contest is influenced significantly by both the broader political economic context, and particular "regimes of truth" that scaffold thinking. Anthropologists can contribute significantly to our understanding of what's going on by tracing these influences, and exploring possible interactions between discursive and structural factors.

This paper presents critical discourse analysis from both the debate about coal seam gas expansion in the South of the state, and the debate about coal expansion in the Central West. This analysis usefully enriches existing descriptions of instrumental and structural ties between Australian governments and extractive industries, offering a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of power involved in support for new coal and gas extraction projects in Queensland.

Panel P039
Anthropological perspectives on environmental change and sustainable futures (Commission on Anthropology and the Environment)