Disputes over Coal Mining and Gas Drilling in an Australian Country Town

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Jonathan Paul Marshall


This paper explores the repatterning of civil society, the social technologies of persuasion and information, and the role of socio-political contexts in Narrabri (an Australian country town, in Western New South Wales), and its surrounding region between 2018 and 2020. In Narrabri the consequences of Carbon Oligarchy are observed, as the oligarchy promoted new gas fields and expansions of a coal mine in the region. This expansion is justified by supposedly offering a solution to Narrabri’s apparent economic, agricultural and population decline problems, but for many local people, it worsens those problems. Conflict has been generated as a result, and the town has suffered painful fractures making the problems seem harder to solve because of the resulting disunity. The paper explores how the contest to justify the extraction also reduces the legitimacy of that extraction.

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Articles (refereed)
Author Biography

Jonathan Paul Marshall, University of Technology Sydney

Currently a QE II Research Fellow, in the social and political change group in FASS at University of Technology Sydney. Researches technology and disorder, the study of online life, and the history of science and the occult.