A social take on unconventional resources: Materiality, alienation and the making of shale gas in Poland and the United Kingdom

Szolucha, Anna (2019) A social take on unconventional resources: Materiality, alienation and the making of shale gas in Poland and the United Kingdom. Energy Research and Social Science, 57. p. 101254. ISSN 2214-6296

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.101254

Abstract

Unlike conventional resources, unconventional gas (such as shale gas) is trapped in low permeability rock, from which it does not flow naturally. Hence, its extraction is costly and requires sophisticated technologies. Building on my ethnographic work in north-west England and south-east Poland, I explore people’s engagements with shale gas materialities to show how the category of an ‘unconventional resource’ – framed by geological and engineering sciences – has more than merely technological implications. Instead, shale gas produces new sociotechnical relations by trying to remove itself from social entanglements. These attempts fail to contain the unruly forces of the subsurface and local impacts, bringing the alienating dynamics of resource-making into sharp relief. The irregularities of materials and infrastructural limits, integral to the socially dis-embedded ‘unconventionality’ of the developments, inadvertently turn shale gas projects into a site of the political.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shale gas, Fracking, Alienation, Materiality
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 10:32
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 12:49
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/40508

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