Hydraulically fractured: Unconventional gas and anthropology (Respond to this article at http://www.therai.org.uk/at/debate)


  • Kim de Rijke

    1. The author is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. He has undertaken fieldwork in Alaska and Australia on notions of wilderness, a dam dispute, and native title rights to land and water. His current research project, funded by the UQ School of Social Science, involves coal seam gas disputes in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales. His email address is k.derijke@uq.edu.au.
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The predicted increase in unconventional gas production is set to change global energy and concomitant geopolitical relations. The scale and required infrastructure of unconventional gas extraction result in profound changes in the landscape where extraction and processing take place. Widespread public concerns about the impacts of this industry have emerged, particularly with regard to fracking, surface and subterranean water contamination, air pollution and a host of other environmental issues, as well as social impacts and health risks. This article sets out some of the emerging anthropological engagements with unconventional gas and fracking, including analyses of materiality, politics, discourses, rights, risk and knowledge.