CIRCUITS OF EXTRACTION

Martín Arboleda

The project rethinks geographies of extraction beyond the mere spatiality of shafts and pits and the political territory of their national economy. Its underlying assumption is that the mine is not a self-contained sociotechnical object, but a dense network of spatial technologies and territorial infrastructures vastly dispersed across space. Seeking to transcend the state-centrism of traditional approaches, the project intends to grasp the complex metabolism of extraction as mining companies become reorganized in the form of global supply chains. Underpinned by empirically-grounded research in Chile, the project analyzes the ways in which the Atacama Desert –the driest in the world-, has become ensnared in a global logistical apparatus that connected mining sites in the Andes with an expanding constellation of megacities, factories, ports, and stock exchanges in East Asia and other parts of the world. The research asks what are the modalities of state power, transnational labor organization, debt instruments, metabolic urbanization, and sociopolitical contestation that emerge as the mining industry embraces the imperatives of speed, connectivity and homeostasis as central organizational principles.

Projected outcome: Book publication (forthcoming with Verso) and journal articles.

Image Credit: Claudia Pool. Dry bulk carrier ship being loaded in the port of Tocopilla, Chile.