Repertoires of Contention throughout the Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Mining

Authors: Aron Massey*, West Liberty University
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Mountain Environments, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Appalachian Activism, Contentious Politics, Mining
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Spruce, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The fight against mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) in Appalachia has taken many forms over the past two decades. Activist groups develop and refine new tactics of resistance over time, occasionally jettisoning previous tactics that had not proven effective. By applying what Burawoy calls the Extended Case Method, this study develops a longitudinal examination of the various tactics these activists have deployed. Drawing from social movement and contentious politics literatures, this project evaluates the evolution of these tactics, also referred to as the movement's repertoires of contention. Examination of secondary sources compliments in-depth qualitative interviews with members of multiple activist groups in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, to reveal the ever-changing nature of their activism. In addition to providing a timeline of various anti-MTR tactics, this project also examines two of the more recently adopted forms of resistance; the use of drones and promotion of economic alternatives.

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