Political geology

Bobbette, A. (2021) Political geology. In: Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford University Press. (doi: 10.1093/obo/9780199874002-0222)

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Political geology is concerned with the relationship between geological process, matter, and politics. It is a relatively recent neologism adopted by geographers and includes scholarship from a number of disciplines adjacent to geography, including anthropology, history of science, science and technology studies, and religious studies. The emergence of the Anthropocene no doubt played a role in raising geographers’ interest in the politicization of geology and geological knowledge. Much work in the field has begun to depart from the lens of Anthropocene studies and venture into new intellectual territory. Political geology seeks to understand geological knowledge as a tradition with histories and geographies. It studies the history of the geological sciences across world cultures and has an expanded conception of geological knowledge (and the sciences) beyond a focus on Euro-America. It is building a cosmopolitan understanding of the geological sciences. Geological knowledge is not taken for granted to speak for the earth system but is placed in its cultural, technological, and political context. At the same time, political geologists are concerned with the vibrant, lively materiality of geology. They are interested in Earth’s capacity to act upon politics and create political cultures. A renewed attention to the agency of geology has resulted in a number of papers that stress the ‘geo’ in geopolitics—the grounded, material dimension that situates all and any politics. There has therefore been an uptick in scholarship on verticality, depth, and resource extraction that foregrounds the material agency of geological process. This has been further brought together with consideration of the multiple knowledge traditions that claim to know and represent geological material. The conventional distinctions between geology and spirituality, geological sciences and religion, organic and inorganic, have been questioned. Alternative modes of writing about geology and the sciences are being explored through performance, fiction, sculpture, and poetry. Political geological scholarship thus brings together a number of discussions about the intersections among knowledge, Earth, power and governance. What follows is a broad introduction and survey of the key formative works of political geology, histories of geological knowledge, theoretical preoccupations, and sites of interest to political geologists. The theory and sites sections are ordered alphabetically.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bobbette, Dr Adam
Authors: Bobbette, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geography
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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