The project explores the tensions and conflicts that have arisen in the intersection between the neoliberal, capitalistic logic of the Swedish government in its efforts to liberalize the mining sector, and the lived realities of local communities directly affected by these efforts.

The Swedish mining industry has been key to the country’s economic development in the 20th century. As neoliberal thinking has increasingly dictated economic policy, however, the status and importance of the mining sector within the national economy has come to appear less certain. Seemingly caught in between a willingness to support the traditional mining industry and cautiousness about committing financially to heavy industrial projects, Swedish governments in the 21st century have adopted policies aimed at facilitating foreign and private investments in mining. These attempts have been promoted through a depoliticized discourse that signals the government’s’ devotion to making Sweden once again a great mining nation to the benefit of all inhabitants. However, the investments and project proposals that have followed from this policy has clearly revealed that there are fundamentally diverging opinions regarding how and if the mining sector should be expanded. This research project investigates the struggles over how the extractive industries should shape the future of communities around Sweden, as mining was repoliticized in Sweden in the 21stcentury. Through interviews and discourse analysis, it looks into how mining in a post-fordist economy holds both promises and threats for people harbouring radically different socio-environmental visions.

Project Leader: Jonas Anshelm
Participants: Jonas Anshelm, Simon Haikola, Björn Wallsten, all of Linköping University, Technology and Social Change
Funding Structure: The basis is a project financed by Vetenskapsrådet which funds Haikola and Wallsten. Tema T’s co-financing covers of Anshelm’s contribution, in the form of research and project leadership, which expands the scope of the project. Anshelm participates in the program 50 % of his time, divided between this project, and the project The History of Environmental Politics in Sweden (Green Futures).
End 31 December 2018