Judith Verweijen and Alexander Dunlap: The evolving techniques of the social engineering of extraction: Introducing political (re)actions ‘from above’ in large-scale mining and energy projects

Published in Political Geography, 2021

Cover of Political Geography

This is the introduction to a special issue of Political GeographyEngineering extraction and land control: Examining political (re)actions 'from above' (J. Verweijen & A. Dunlap, convenors)


Judith Verweijen

Alexander Dunlap


Ecological catastrophe and global inequality are pressing, yet socio-ecologically destructive natural resource extraction continues unabated. This special issue explores the strategies and tactics employed by large-scale mining and energy companies to render extraction socio-politically feasible in the face of multi-pronged opposition. Extraction, we contend, does not only need physical engineering, but requires social engineering as well. This entails shaping the behavior of people to ‘manage’ dissent and ‘manufacture’ consent. Situating the social engineering of extraction in key debates in the literature, this special issue introduction traces the evolution of its main technologies and techniques, related to colonialism, wars of decolonization, neoliberalism and the ‘green’ economy, respectively. We conclude by outlining a number of ways to advance research on the social engineering of extraction.

Published Feb. 5, 2021 2:52 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2021 2:52 PM