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From coal not to ashes but to what? Weak resilience under apparent prosperity: As Pontes, social memory and the concentration problem

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Based on quantitative and qualitative data on the former mining community of As Pontes, Spain, where boom took place in the 70’s to 90’s, we develop a contribution to the literature on social impact of natural resource booms by bringing in notions from governance and social memory theories. Mining was always contested in As Pontes, eroded old rural economy, wiped out and depopulated villages, while it led to higher crime rate and less social cohesion. The effects of the bust were buffered by a strong welfare state, and a power plant, which now imported coal, but still employed hundreds of locals. Despite the not glorious past and despite the not terribly dramatic present, we still find deep nostalgia and other features observed in places where boom provoked less resistance and bust was more dramatic. Thus, a rigid ‘industrial’ identity structured governance, nostalgia for the ‘good’ times dominated, a rather passive attitude towards reinvention, waiting for the next boom. We further the concentration problem concept and link it to erasure of institutional, cognitive and material infrastructures of memory. Material and discursive links to the past are erased, and a monofunctional landscape and community offers less cohesion and fewer options for reinvention
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftExtractive Industries and Society
StatusAfsendt - 2020

ID: 237515277