Resource Work and the End(s) of Extractive Industry

To express interest in this panel, please use the comments feature on this page and/or contact Dylan Gordon: dylan.gordon [at] utoronto.ca

Anyone interested in developing a panel on resource work, extractive industry, sustainability, post-Fordist industrial transformations, "ethical oil," subsistence mining, etc.? My work is on the industry behind an “anti-industrial” product, wild-foraged foods, specifically the resource workers and communities involved. One possible direction:

Extractive industries and communities formed around resource work are often demonized as short-sighted profiteers destroying nature. From such perspectives, their work is work that should come to an end, or at least become more sustainable.

Meanwhile, many resource communities and economies fear another sort of end: threats to cherished ways of life or to an already precarious survival, brought about by shrinking resource bases, tougher regulation, growing competition, or processes of land alienation and exploitation driven by more powerful interests.

This panel could explore the various ends of resource work and extractive industry. How are not only economic, but also social and ecological values, constructed and pursued in these forms of work, and in talk about it? What goals and desires actually motivate resource workers and their critics? Can calls for an end to extractive industries be reconciled with the aspirations and activities investedin their development, or with the ethical culpability of consumers?