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Pipeline Politics: Capitalism, Extractivism, and Resistance in Canada


Pipeline Politics: Capitalism, Extractivism, and Resistance in Canada

Gareau, Kristian (2016) Pipeline Politics: Capitalism, Extractivism, and Resistance in Canada. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Economic and political pressures to extract Canada’s oil sands—among the most carbon-intensive and polluting fossil fuels on the planet—have increased manifold, while heightened risks of toxic spills, climate change, and environmental degradation from fossil fuel use and production have solicited intense public concern. Yet, influenced by neoliberalism, political solutions to climate and environmental crises are often swept aside in favor of market-based approaches to economic and social organization. In the face of such depoliticizing trends, and an economic model that makes life on Earth increasingly precarious, a loose network of environmental organizations and citizens took social and political action against oil pipelines in response to the “failure of institutional representation” (Dufour et al., 2015: 127). This movement—dubbed the anti-fossil fuel or anti-pipeline movement (Klein, 2014)—sought to challenge the dominant cultures and politics of fossil-fueled capitalism to initiate a public conversation about building and governing differently in a socio-ecologically precarious world. For that reason, social resistance to a specific oil infrastructure project, the Energy East pipeline in Canada, presents an opportunity to unpack how political claims for a post-carbon society are enacted and formulated. Drawing primarily on reviews of the social science literature on risk, capitalism, and environmental politics, as well as discourse analysis and in-depth interviews with key anti-fossil fuel movement actors, the thesis aims to explore how anti-pipeline claims problematize capitalist solutions to contemporary environmental problems. It argues that social resistance to pipelines carves out a space in the public imaginary for a future beyond petroleum—and perhaps even modern capitalism itself.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Gareau, Kristian
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:12 December 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Neves, Katja and Linds, Warren and Ikeda, Satoshi
Keywords:tar sands, oil sands, pipelines, extractivism, resistance, political ecology, environmental politics, anti-fossil fuel movement.
ID Code:982113
Deposited On:07 Jun 2017 17:35
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54
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