Energy geographers seem to agree that the carbon economy represents a symbiotic relationship between social and material components. There is less consensus, however, on how this symbiosis is best conceptualized. We critique the portrayal of carbonscapes as loosely associated, flexibly (re)arranged and easily enacted upon through small-scale radical innovation. Instead, we advocate for a historical materialist approach foregrounding people’s relationship to nature and to each other through the wage relation and systems of social reproduction. By assuming the vantage point of petroleum workers, we show how geographies of (de)alienation can inform a politics of reconnection in the carbon economy.
Jordhus-Lier, D., Houeland, C. & Ellingvåg T. H. (2022) Alienating assemblages: Working the carbonscape in times of transformation. Progress in Human Geography 46(2):319-338. https://doi.org/10.1177/03091325211018730