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Industrious Landscaping: The Making and Managing of Natural Resources at Søby Brown Coal Beds

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  • Nathalia Sofie Brichet
  • ,
  • Frida Hastrup, Etnologi, SAXO, KU
This article offers a history of landscaping at Søby brown coal beds – a former mining site in western Denmark. Exploring this industrial landscape through a series of projects that have made different natural resources appear, we argue that what is even recognized as resources shifts over time according to radically different and unpredictable agendas. Natural resources emerge as feats of particular political and historical landscape configurations, rather than fixed dormant sediments waiting to be exploited. This indicates that the Søby landscape is fundamentally volatile, as its resourcefulness has been seen interchangeably to rest with brown coal business, inexpensive estates for do-it-yourself people, pasture for grazing, and recreational forest, among other things. We discuss these rifts in landscaping, motivated by what we refer to as industriousness, to show that in an industrial site such as Søby both natural resources and historical developments are made through particular ad hoc perspectives, somehow providing their own argument on the basis of the ends they are seen to meet.. This view of natural resources and development processes as perspectival accomplishments calls for a detailed analysis of shifting landscape projects and has an essential methodological corollary, namely that fieldwork must be improvisational, situated, and humble. Rather than finding the ‘right’ field materials for a canonical landscape history of Søby, we develop a method of ‘dustballing’ – being blown here and there, letting our fieldwork somehow navigate itself.
TidsskriftJournal of Ethnobiology
Sider (fra-til)8-23
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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