Article: On the Shore—Thinking water at a prospective mining site in Northern Norway (2016)

Drawing on material from a projected copper mine development in northern Norway, the text explores and contrasts several ways in which water functions as a local “theory machine” to model, reflect, organize, intervene into, and think through relations. Working back from specific examples, it identifies three locally important modes for thinking (with) water: water as a constitutive metaphor, structuring particular ontologies of the social; water as a normative diagram, organizing potential future formations; and water as a kind of boundary, antagonistic (potentially) to the spatial logics of the capitalist resource extraction project. Situating these three “theory machines” of water within the current resource boom in northern Scandinavia, the text examines their potential valence—as figures for thinking through politics, sociality, and relations (human and otherwise) in an age defined, increasingly, by ecological upheavals.

PDF: On the Shore