Resource geography II: What makes resources political?

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47 Scopus citations


What makes resources political? We often imagine that politics is something done to resources (i.e. larger contestations over access to and control over resources). In this second “progress report”, I question whether resource politics is simply about fighting over stuff. How does the materiality of resources themselves shape broader conceptions of “the political” in general? I highlight the role of resources in shaping three central meanings of the political or politics. First, the commonsense ideology of politics as electoral contests over political power. Second, the state – as the sphere of “the political” – is constructed as a geographical entity based on a specific form of territoriality. Third, the nation-state reflects a complex political duality: both an institutional state apparatus and a cultural imaginary of shared nationhood. I conclude with some thoughts on the need to expand the terrain of the political in resource geography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-564
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • nationalism
  • resources
  • state
  • the political

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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