Governance at the Edge of the State Summer School 2023

Inquiries and applications

Governance at the Edge of the State Summer School 2023

Inquiries and applications

Epistemes and Materialities of Extractive Capitalism

Course description

This is a call for applications for a 3-day summer school around the theme of “Epistemes and Materialities of Extractive Capitalism”. The course brings together researchers concerned with the extraction of natural resources, under and above ground, in ways that generate human and non-human depletion. Extractive capitalism, and its reworking of social relations of production and reproduction, transforms water, sub-soil, forests, soil, and air. Worldwide, resource extraction and waste disposal entrench socio-environmental inequalities, for instance, by restricting user rights through enclosure and dispossession, or by causing pollution, uneven exposure to toxicity, and health risks.

The politics of resource extraction and discard however cannot be captured simply as an expression of domination and resistance by social actors within predefined hierarchical relations. Rather, it includes governance efforts that unfold in a web of power relations, and in frictions between a multitude of actors, human and non-human, essentially about state and public authority. Characteristic of ‘governance at the edge of the state’, these relations manifest in everyday practices and ruptures, in people’s livelihoods, in regimes of commodification and in relations over land. In this sense, we think of the ‘edge’ as sites of intense struggles, often by violent means, over both the materiality of contested resources, their valuation and abandonment, as well as the different knowledge and meaning systems b/ordering socio-material relations.

Shedding light on these relations at the ‘edge of the state’, where governance is partial, fragmented, ruptured and contested, is integral to scrutinizing the epistemic and material struggles over authority and control that shape extractive capitalism as it unfolds. This call invites doctoral researchers working to advance a global academic conversation around these issues, including theoretically informed research that not only questions these dynamics, but is also concerned with building more just global futures (eg through feminist, anti-colonial and anti-racist approaches and methodologies).

This summer school course is organized by a network of universities across Europe, and it is the 7th in a series that since 2014 that explore multiple forms of “governance at the edge of the state”. The focus takes different shape every year but a common thread under this thematic has been to advance an understanding of the conditions under which marginality is produced and reproduced, of the role of informal economies and institutions in this process, and the shape and role of state-society relations in contexts where (often violent) political and economic ordering takes place. It discusses what it means to be at ‘the ‘edge’ of the state by exploring the unruliness of these spaces and imaginaries. Such research brings up difficult dilemmas and for this reason the summer school courses also focus on methodological, epistemological and ethical challenges of doing research in and on spaces at the edge of the state.

Dates and Venue

August 21-23, 2023

Department of Food and Resource Economics

University of Copenhagen

Rolighedsvej 25, 1958 Frederiksberg


Deadline for applications: May 14, 2023

Governance at the Edge of the State


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