Beyond the anthropology of oil and indigenous peoples, this session explores cultures of relating to the subsurface. Papers analyse the relation of different resource users' engagement with resources, their worldview, their environment and how these relations influence resource extraction
People's corporeal, spiritual, and cultural engagement with subsurface resources are the subject of this session. Many indigenous people worldwide associate taboos, notions of death, darkness and dangers with the subsurface. On the other hand, human life - including indigenous life is dependent on the extraction of subsurface resources (most notably energy and mining). Underlying these processes is the worldview of extractivism (Acosta 2013), the idea that only through processes of extraction can resources become valuable and acquire meaning for humankind. The meaning of resources in extractivism is being used for the good of humans, whose goal is in turn 'open up' more untapped resources in a "big carbon" approach (Klein 2014). This is in stark contrast to many indigenous and local cosmologies where the underground is a sacred (albeit maybe dangerous) sphere that must be left in peace for the spirits. This session aims to overcome such a dichotomy by inviting papers on extractive industries focusing on the corporeality and spirituality of the resource(s), and on the lived experience of people living on top of subsurface resources. Rather than reifying the distinction between indigenous and incomer-people, or between traditional indigenous economies and extractive industries, we encourage papers to analyse the complex mutual influence between people's cosmologies, their relation to the environment, their way of life and their way of relating to and extracting resources. In doing so, we hope to break new ground in the theoretical positioning of an anthropology of extractive industries and the environment.
Nurturing ores, atomic testing pollution, and buried occult histories: competing interpretations of the subsurface as part of nature conservation in the Russian North
'Subterranean water: notes on the political, industrial, therapeutic and hydromantic uses of underground water in central Serbia
'Ancestors, prophets and gold': an exploration of the role of the occult in artisanal mining activities in central Zimbabwe
Southern Siberia (Russia) indigenous peoples vs mining companies: land-use conflicts and standoff discourse in context of resource curse