The Making of Resource Regions: Understanding Multiple Agencies and Motivations

Authors: Juha Kotilainen*, University of Eastern Finland
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Resources, Development
Keywords: resource extraction, political ecology, resource regions, regionalism, extractivism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Regions are an overlooked scale of action and politics in research on geographies of resource extraction. The paper makes the case that we need to increase understandings of the ways in which regionalism, including regional identities, play a role in advancing the activities of resource exploitation. Often in research based on case studies of individual local communities affected by resource extraction, the communities are seen in opposition to the extractive activities. On the other hand, the role of national governments has been explored in the new extractivism literature. However, while the opposition of local actors and industries, sometimes aligned with governmental actors, is well documented and theorized in literature, often there are political and economic actors in resource regions who support the intensification of resource extraction. It is argued in the paper that we need to take steps towards understanding the motivations of these mediating actors, regarding the social and environmental conditions with which they deal. It is further argued that this understanding should be part of the political economic and political ecology analysis of controversies related to the extractive industries. It is suggested that examining the ways in which regions produce and reproduce their identities as resource-based would be benefit for scholarly understandings over geographies of resource extraction. The paper outlines these territorial political ambitions and aspirations and calls for research to be undertaken on the emergence of resource regionalism, as complementary to the notions of resource nationalism and new extractivism.

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