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Capturing Appalachia: Visualizing coal, culture, and ecology

McClanahan, Bill (2017) Capturing Appalachia: Visualizing coal, culture, and ecology. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Capturing Appalachia: Visualizing Coal, Culture and Ecology, draws on extensive ethnographic, archival, and ecographic research conducted across Appalachia between 2014-2016 to develop an empirically informed sociological image of the interactions between culture, geography, and industry. Of particular interest are the ways that extractive cultures in Appalachia are constructed and communicated, and so the project includes archival work researching historical images as well as fieldwork focused on the production of images. Drawing on the traditions of cultural and ‘green’ criminologies, geography, and critical ecotheory, concluding that the cultural, political, and ecological worlds of Appalachia exist in a dialectical relationship with one another, and that at the center of each is an intense cultural relationship with the region’s historic and contemporary capture (cultural, economic, and ecological) by resource extraction. These dialectical relationships are made clear in the visuality of Appalachia, with paradigms frequently challenged by the production of countervisual narratives in productions spanning photography, literature, cinema, and media. The project constitutes the first extensive empirical application of the suggestions of an emergent green-cultural criminology. This research contributes significantly to the existing theoretical literature on extractive cultures through the development and application of the concept of ‘capture’, which is employed in throughout and which constitutes a central concept the project. The concept of ‘regulatory capture’ informs much of the existing sociological literature on harmful industry. Expanding on the concept of ‘capture’, I consider the capture of Appalachian economies by a single industry (economic capture), the capture of cultural production by the dominant industry (cultural capture), the legal capture of material landscapes by industry (ecological capture), the visual-mechanical capture of images of ecology and culture (photographic capture), and finally, the capture of ecology and people by an emerging industry of incarceration (carceral capture).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: William McClanahan
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 13:50
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 13:50

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