Ecological Anxiety: Emotional Geographies of Resource Extraction and Regulation

Authors: Dawn Hoogeveen*, University of Northern British Columbia, Sarah de Leeuw, University of Northern British Columbia
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: resources, extraction, emotion, inequality, anxiety
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


How things come to be environmentally regulated is intimately tied to "how things happen." In the rural geographies of Canada, described by Harold Innis as the hinterland or so-called resource periphery, the intimacy or "happening" of resource development and extraction exists in a politically and economically charged environment with an underexplored amount of emotional investment. Emotion runs high for business development interests and Proponents that seek to move forward with mines or oil and gas projects. Community activists and environmentalists that protest the extractivist political economy of oil, gas and mineral extraction also embody a highly emotional terrain. The emotional geographies of resource extraction - the stress, anxiety and fear - common at environmental assessment hearings, for example, are an under-examined area in political ecology that relates in curious ways to psychoanalytic geographies. Themes of inequality, settler colonialism, racism, dispossession, power, and decolonization have provided geographers a springboard to examine the political ecologies of extraction in the Anthropocene. Using these themes as a catalyst, this paper looks at the psychoanalytic geographies of anxiety and emotion that lie behind extractivist politics, including those relating to more-than-human ecologies.

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