Mining (Dis)amenity: The Political Ecology of Mining Opposition in the Kaz (Ida) Mountain Region of Western Turkey

Authors

  • Patrick T. Hurley,

    1. is an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Ursinus College (PO Box 1000, Collegeville, PA, USA; e-mail: phurley@ursinus.edu). His research focuses on the implications that First World political ecology, the politics of conservation, and land-use change have for conservation practice and natural resource use.
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  • Yılmaz Arı

    1. is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Balıkesir (Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Cografya Bölümü, 10145, Balikesir, Turkey; e-mail: yari@balikesir.edu.tr). His research focuses on the cultural and political ecology of protected areas, and changes in and around national parks and other protected areas in Turkey.
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We thank the inhabitants, homeowners and NGO representatives of the Edremit Bay Region for their participation in this research. This research was funded, in part, by generous support from our respective institutions, including an Ursinus Mellon Summer Research Grant. Leah Horowitz, Valentine Cadieux, Laura Taylor and Michael Woods provided comments on early iterations of the paper, which greatly improved the manuscript. Finally, we also thank our anonymous reviewers for their comments. Any errors are solely the responsibility of the authors.

ABSTRACT

Opposition to mining activities is an increasingly global phenomenon. A key feature of political ecology literature examining this opposition is its focus on the power of multinational corporations to gain access to resources on lands principally claimed by indigenous peoples and peasants in ‘Third World’ countries. These struggles often play out within the context of tensions between neoliberal natural resource policies and interventions by non-governmental and civil society actors. Meanwhile, political ecology scholars of natural resource conflicts in ‘First World’ countries are documenting conflicts over environmental management that emerge from complex commodification processes and competing forms of capital investment, such as those associated with amenity migration, that privilege different characteristics of landscapes. These perspectives are rarely combined into a single framework, despite the recognition that common dimensions may intermingle in regional contexts around the world. Using the case of conflict over gold mining in the Kaz (Ida) Mountains of western Turkey, this article explores the intersection of state neoliberalism with competing forms of rural capital, which produce a regional mining conflict. Our case highlights the value of ‘locating the First and Third Worlds within’ when it comes to studies of social processes that shape environmental conflicts.

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