The global life of mines:
Mining and post-mining between extractivism and heritage-making
International workshop


Over the last decades the acceleration of extractive processes intensified the rhythm of transformation of mining regions worldwide, producing highly diversified and yet intimately interconnected socio-ecological geographies of labour and exploitation, ecological distress and dereliction, as well as moral economies, political ecologies and cultural imaginaries. Areas formerly interested by small and large-scale mining have been gradually abandoned – at times recovered for new economic ventures, other times left in ruin – while the constantly mobile frontiers of extraction have opened new green-fields across the world. From a global perspective, mining and post-mining can be thought as interrelated processes at different scales: bound up by the political economy of global capitalism; concomitant outcomes of transnational financial and corporate strategies; or the uneven outcomes of the changing configurations of contemporary energy politics.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together anthropological perspectives and ethnographic studies on mining and post-mining across a broad range of geographical contexts. Focusing on the materiality of mining and post-mining sites, we invite contributions that help build a comparative outlook on the uneven trajectories and articulations of mining and post-mining in  a global perspective.

We propose the ‘global life of mines’ as an overall framework for exploring links, interconnections and scales of articulations between the current booming of extractive industries, projects, and operations worldwide – along with the new rhetorics of sustainability, ‘green’ and ‘blue’ economy etc.. – and the diversified consequences of mine closures, ranging from abandonment and dereliction to new extractive processes (heritage-making, ‘green’ economies etc).

We invite contributions that address the following issues:

How mining and post-mining activities and projects are historically connected and/or disconnected within an ideal ‘global life cycle’ of mines? How such connections and/or disconnections can be ethnographically investigated?

How mining and post-mining can be jointly examined across the multiple scales of contemporary energy politics? And how they are being reconfigured in the current ecological crisis, through emerging patterns of ‘green’ extractivism and discourses on energy transition and sustainability?

How the notion of ‘strategic resource’ is interpreted, negotiated, and used at the local level (e.g. miners, communities, institutions) and how does it provide a meaningful framework for linking mining and post-mining practices?

In what way do capitalist relations prejudice the heritagization of post-mining sites, as in Europe and North America, compared to other world regions such as Latin America?

Finally, how mining and post-mining can be fruitfully brought together in a comparative framework, which can help think the global dimension of diversified forms of extractivism and post-extractivism, in different contexts, sites, and (post)mining locations?

Please submit abstract proposals (max 200 words), along with a short bio (100 words), to zerilli@unica.it and ampusceddu@gmail.com. Accepted participants will be notified by September 15th. The organization will provide accommodation for all participants. For any queries and further information please contact:

Filippo M. Zerilli (University of Cagliari): zerilli@unica.it 

Antonio Maria Pusceddu (CRIA-IUL): ampusceddu@gmail.com