Political Economies of Extractive Industry: From Documenting Complexity to Informing Current Debates

Introduction to Development and Change Virtual Issue 2


  • Anthony Bebbington,

  • Teresa Bornschlegl,

  • Adrienne Johnson

  • The authors are all based in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, USA. They are listed in alphabetical order, but share equal responsibility for this paper. Thanks to the reviewers of this paper as well as to Bridget O'Laughlin for helping us tighten its argument considerably.


The literature on extractive industries has grown rapidly in recent years both because the empirical significance of resource extraction has increased and because resource extraction necessarily invokes other questions of wider purchase in development studies. This virtual issue brings together articles published in Development and Change on mining, oil and gas extraction since the early 1980s that explore these inter-connections. They focus on certain interfaces: extraction and rural political economy; extraction and policies of economic adjustment; and extraction and development politics. The articles often document the complexity and contextual specificity of these interconnections, but we draw particular attention here to the insights they offer on broader issues such as the relationship between resource extraction, adjustment and neoliberalization.