1st Edition

The Anthropology of Resource Extraction

Edited By Lorenzo D'Angelo, Robert Jan Pijpers Copyright 2022
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers an overview of the key debates in the burgeoning anthropological literature on resource extraction.

    Resources play a crucial role in the contemporary economy and society, are required in the production of a vast range of consumer products and are at the core of geopolitical strategies and environmental concerns for the future of humanity. Scholars have widely debated the economic and sociological aspects of resource management in our societies, offering interesting and useful abstractions. However, anthropologists offer different and fresh perspectives – sometimes complementary and at other times alternative to these abstractions – based on field researches conducted in close contact with those actors (individuals as well as groups and institutions) that manipulate, anticipate, fight for, or resist the extractive processes in many creative ways. Thus, while addressing questions such as: "What characterizes the anthropology of resource extraction?", "What topics in the context of resource extraction have anthropologists studied?", and "What approaches and insights have emerged from this?", this book synthesizes and analyses a range of anthropological debates about the ways in which different actors extract, use, manage, and think about resources.

    This comprehensive volume will serve as a key reading for scholars and students within the social sciences working on resource extraction and those with an interest in natural resources, environment, capitalism, and globalization. It will also be a useful resource for practitioners within mining and development.


    1. The Anthropology of Resource Extraction: An Introduction
    Lorenzo D’Angelo and Robert Jan Pijpers

    2. Corporations
    Elana Shever

    3. Development
    Robert Jan Pijpers

    4. Environmental Change
    Mark Nuttall

    5. Governance
    Jeroen Cuvelier, Sara Geenen and Boris Verbrugge

    6. Materiality and Substances
    Elizabeth Ferry

    7. Mineworkers
    Benjamin Rubbers

    8. Positionality and Ethics
    Nick Bainton and Emilia E. Skrzypek

    9. Sustainability
    Cristiano Lanzano

    10. Technology
    Lorenzo D’Angelo

    11. Underground
    Sabine Luning

    12. Water and Conflict
    Fabiana Li and Teresa A. Velásquez

    13. Final Reflections and Future Agendas
    Robert Jan Pijpers and Dinah Rajak


    Lorenzo D’Angelo is Assistant Professor in the Department of History Anthropology Religions Art History, Media and Performing Arts, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

    Robert Jan Pijpers is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg, Germany.

    "This stellar collection digs deep into prior scholarship on resource extraction and unearths bold new agendas for future research."
    Stuart Kirsch, author of Mining Capitalism 

    "A nuanced, rich account, The Anthropology of Resource Extraction brings together leading scholars to make valuable contributions to key theoretical debates, while emphasizing the value of ethnography for understanding the practice of extraction."
    Eleanor Fisher, Head of Research, Nordic Africa Institute

    "The Anthropology of Resource Extraction is certain to become a classic for scholars interested in the entangled social and environmental worlds of humans and non-renewable minerals. Taking a thematic approach to the analysis of our utter dependence upon minerals for contemporary livelihoods, this volume brings together leading scholars in anthropology to review the state of resource extraction today. Topics ranging from corporations, to the environment, to governance, to water, are treated with a fine-grained ethnographic attention to the explosion of interest in extractivism in the 21st century."
    Jerry K. Jacka, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado Boulder, U.S.A.