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Doctoral thesis, 2024

Beyond the Minefield : Mining, Development, and Open Moments in Northern Sweden

Stiernström, Arvid

Abstract

In recent years mining has taken centre stage in rural development. In part, this is a consequence of the ‘green transition’, where the demand for minerals to develop new energy systems is increasing dramatically. Using ethnographic methods, I take my starting point in Storuman, a sparsely populated municipality in the rural North of Sweden where three potential mines are already reterritorialising property rights and access, and the governance of land is being reconfigured. With the aim to explore how extractive interventions shape rural places in times of transition, I ask questions about the entanglements between people and land, the reconfigurations of territory, and what large scale extractive interventions mean for the conceptualisation of rural development in Sweden and beyond. 

To understand how the ‘green transition’ impacts rural areas and what the future for rural development entails, I bring together research on resource extraction, rural development, and indigeneity. By doing so, I show how the potential mines are generating open moments, where a state of uncertainty becomes a central part of life. I uncover how rather than being passive receivers of state policies, people take charge of their situation in open moments to steer the outcome of events. I argue that there is an overarching critique of how state policies and practices treat communities at the edge of the state. The core of this critique lies at the intersection of past and future, as people make sense of what unfolds in the open moment both as the latest instantiation of repression in a long history of colonial practices, and as a desire to reevaluate what development is and can be.

Keywords

Development thinking; rural development; rural spaces; territory; open moments; mining; property and access; green transition; land

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2024, number: 2024:17
ISBN: 978-91-8046-298-3, eISBN: 978-91-8046-299-0
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.54612/a.6qdapcn6mq

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/127704