The EXALT Symposium 2020 was a series of convivial online discussions stretching across three days on 21.-23. of October, 2020. The event drew together diverse critical analyses of the phenomena of global extractivisms and the myriad alternatives pursued both in theory and practice. The main aim of the Symposium was to contribute to, expand and deepen the concept of extractivism and the role of alternatives beyond the conventional usage connected to natural resources. The Symposium consisted of a main Roundtable-discussion (see recording below) with some of the world’s leading scholars working on extractivisms, followed by seven sessions (see recordings below) covering different aspects of global extractivisms and alternatives. 

Session recordings:

Opening Plenary: Roundtable Discussion - EXALT Symposium 2020

This Roundtable Discussion was the Opening Plenary session of the EXALT Symposium 2020 organized by the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) online in October 2020. Though being a concept of our time, extractivism remains elusive of fixed definitions, while research often focuses on individual cases of extractivist practises. The session brought together some of the world’s leading scholars working on extractivisms to discuss, debate, deepen and expand the definitions of extractivism. The session also invited the speakers to discuss their definitions of extractivism, and to explore together different conceptualisations. Speakers: Alexander Dunlap (Centre for Development and Environment, University of Oslo) Eduardo Gudynas (Latin American Center on Social Ecology, CLAES) and Anna Willow (University of Ohio)

Performance: KO:MI - EXALT Symposium 2020

KO:MI is the solo project of Sanna Komi, a musician and a PhD researcher at the University of Helsinki, who uses both research and music as ways to analyse and understand global issues especially related to human-nature relations, oppression and inequalities. Her upcoming second album is themed around the continuation of living and loving during anthropogenic environmental catastrophes. The new songs deal with different emotions from anger to compassion at the face of collective inaction and the structural roots of the current crises, and bring a societally conscious intersectional voice to alternative pop music. Performing live with a looper pedal and effects, KO:MI creates large and evocative soundscapes with just a violin and her voice.

Urbanity and Extractivisms - EXALT Symposium 2020

The session hosted a discussion with Ali Almoghazy about his research on the tensions and contradictions in and of oil cities. The session also examined other issues related to urbanism and post-extractivist agenda, including (re)theorizing urban development as part of development, underdevelopment, and alternative development, and analyses that deconstruct modernist fossil and nuclear-based urbanism from a theoretical, empirical, and methodological viewpoint. Speakers: Ali Almoghazy (University of Helsinki) Discussant: Joe Collins (University of Sydney) Hosted by: professor Franklin Obeng-Odoom (University of Helsinki)

Colonized by Data: The Costs of Connection - EXALT Symposium 2020

This session was part of the EXALT Symposium 2020 organized by the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) held online in October 2020. The talk introduced Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejías' new book, "The Costs of Connection: How Data Colonizes Human Life and Appropriates it for Capitalism" (Stanford University Press, August 2019). Couldry and Mejías argue that the role of data in society needs to be grasped as not only a development of capitalism, but as the start of a new phase in human history that rivals in importance the emergence of historic colonialism. This new "data colonialism" is based not on the extraction of natural resources or labor, but on the appropriation of human life through data, paving the way for a further stage of capitalism.

Transitions to Alternatives - EXALT Symposium 2020

This session was part of the EXALT Symposium 2020 organized by the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) held online in October 2020. The session examined the organizational practices that shape the transformations needed to build alternative futures in a post-extractive world through cooperative action, and hosted a discussion on activism for climate and social justice in the context of universities. Speakers: Dr. Stephen Healy and Bhavya Chitranshi from Western Sydney University, and professor Molly Anderson with students Zoe Grodsky, Divya Gudur, Hannah Laga Abram, Ivonne Juarez Serna, Cora Kircher, Lucy Weiss and Leif Taranta from Middlebury College. Hosted by: Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes, Galina Kallio and Maxim Vlasov

Arcanes of Terran Reproduction - EXALT Symposium 2020

“Arcanes of Terran Reproduction” is an art piece/performance by Mirko Nikolic, which draws on recent proposals which map extractivism as a constitutive logic extending well beyond ‘natural resource’ industries and penetrates many domains of the social, this also implicates that modes of resistance and alternatives-making are correspondingly widely distributed, expansive, pervasive, but also sometimes harder to notice, ’submerged’ (Gómez-Barris, 2017). They take place on factory floors, but also classrooms and households. Following the lead of the frontline struggles and communities, and by conversing with traditions of social reproduction feminism, and feminist and queer materialisms, I summon some lines of work – existing, nascent, prefigurative – towards a transformation of everyday life at the edges of the capital and empire, modes of dismantling extractivism everyday everywhere." Followed by a discussion with Mirko Nikolic, Sophia Hagolani-Albov and Symposium participants.

Book Launch: Beyond the Coal Rush - EXALT Symposium

This event to launch the book "Beyond the Coal Rush: a Turning Point in Global Energy and Climate Policy" was part of the EXALT Symposium 2020, organized by the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT), held online in October, 2020. The session was a collaboration in launching the new book by James Goodman et al. During the session the authors provided country cases of the ethnographic research in the book.

People's Sovereignty Network: Reclaiming Democracy from Below - EXALT Symposium 2020

The collaborative session introduced the People's Sovereignty Network by presenting the purpose, methodology and content of the Special Forum "Reclaiming Democracy from Below"published in the Journal Globalizations (2020). The co-editors described the world context which the PSN addresses, the objective of convergence it pursues, and the characteristics that distinguish it: building and learning from people’s concrete struggles and efforts to construct; offering a space and instruments for movements and communities to exchange and learn from each other; experimenting with co-production of knowledge between movements and academic and civil society activists. The introduction was followed by presentations of three of the articles featured in the Special Forum and the methodologies adopted for the co-production of knowledge on themes that emerged from the Siena workshop: ‘Land, territory and commons: voices and visions from struggles’, ‘Rethinking law from below: experiences from the Kuna People and Rojava’, and ‘Releasing the full transformative power of feminism’.

Global Extractivisms - EXALT Symposium 2020

The session examined the politics, political economy, political ecology, and world-ecologies of extractivisms, especially their wider dynamics with case examples from Mozambique and the international gold mining industry. The discussion explored the speakers’ perspective on extractivism and how their research has informed that perspective. Some of the questions explored were: how the presenters respective case study research informs the way they understand extractivism; how their research could influence the theory of extractivism; and what is new in their approach and understanding of the field of extractivism. Speakers: Julie Ann De Los Reyes (University of Kyoto), Anja Nygren (University of Helsinki) and Natacha Bruna (Institute of Social Science at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam). Hosted by: professor Barry Gills and associate professor Markus Kröger

Indigenous Sovereignty, Modernity Projects and Alternatives - EXALT Symposium 2020

In the last session of the EXALT Symposium 2020 professor Deborah McGregor (York University, Osgoode Hall Law faculty) gave a talk "Indigenous Peoples, Colonialism and Climate Change Futures" which was followed by a discussion on indigenous sovereignty, modernity, colonialism and alternatives. About professor McGregor's talk: "The current climate crisis is not the first time Indigenous peoples have had to face devastating environmental change. Indigenous peoples have been adapting and finding ways to adapt and be resilient since time immemorial. Indigenous peoples have distinct formations and contributions to make to the dialogue on global environmental/climate crisis as well as critiques of proposed solutions. Drawing on Indigenous governance, legal orders, knowledge systems, how can a self determined future be realized? This presentation will explore Indigenous pathways to envision a self determined climate change future that way inspire others." Speaker: Deborah McGregor Host: Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen Discussants: Hanna Guttorm, Eija Maria Ranta and Paola Minoia

(DE)NAT­UR­AL­ISING EX­TRACT­IV­ISM: IN­VEST­IG­AT­ING ITS SO­CIAL OR­DERS AND RES­IST­ANCES

This event (held in 20-21. of October) was a collaboration between EXALT and two doctoral programs from the Faculty Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki to coproduce an online annual conference as a pre-conference to the EXALT Symposium 2020. EXALT's partners in the event were the doctoral programme in Social Sciences and the doctoral programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change.

Desrciption: The 7th Annual Conference for the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences & the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change explored the (de)naturalisations of extractivist practices. Extractivism refers both to material extraction of natural resources prevalent in industries such as mining and agribusiness, as well as old and new extractivist practices forming around e.g. data, cultures, knowledge, and bodies. We understand extractivism as inherently linked with the operations of capital, but also with the shaping of social processes. Our conference asked how extractive practices — and the industries and capital enacting them — are made out to be part of a naturalised and thus often invisible social order. The event also brought forth perspectives on how such naturalisations are resisted and deconstructed in diverse discourses and practices, in and beyond decolonial research and activism.

You can find the full page for the doctoral students pre-conference here. 

Recordings

Keynote Cori Hayden - Crowding extractivism: Data and more-than-social media

Methods Workshop

For this workshop we were joined by the following panelists: Anni E. Kajanus, Assistant Professor, Social and Cultural Anthropology Tuomas M. Ylä-Anttila, Associate Professor, Political Science Anne Kouvonen, Professor, Social Policy – talk title: Challenges of pragmatic RCT data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic

Keynote Markus Kröger - Resistance to extractivisms: Dynamics, strategies and outcomes

Degrowth and Post-Extractivism - a Good Life for All?

WATCH THE RECORDING HERE.

When? Friday June 5th at 14.00-15.30 EEST

Where? Online on Zoom.

Chair: Dr. Ossi Ollinaho, Post-doctoral researcher at Development Studies, University of Helsinki, member of both EXALT and HELSUS

Speaker: Dr. Marta Conde

The earth and all of its inhabitants are on a trajectory of cascading socio-ecological crisis driven by extractivist development and growth-centered economism. Like a snake eating its own tail, our progress-orientated and human-centered civilisation is built on the premise that there are no limits to growth. But rethinking growth and the current societal realities cannot be avoided anymore. Concurrent crisis such as the Climate Emergency are showing that the we are approaching the final frontiers of capitalist development. This realisation has given rise to calls such as “degrowth” and post-extractivism. 

In this online seminar EXALT and HELSUS collaborated in bringing together Degrowth and steady-state economics with post-extractivism to seek alternatives for the current crisis-prone world-system. Through inclusive discussion the aim was to explore the possibilities of building ecological and economic systems which function within the regenerative capacity of the planet, while at the same time enabling a "good life for all".

This seminar was part of a wider Global Degrowth Day organized each year to unite diverse organizations and communities, which support the idea of degrowth and want to show that “A good life for all” is possible beyond economies built on growth and consumption. The seminar was a joint venture between the EXALT initiative and the HELSUS Global South Encounters seminar series. 

About the speaker:

Bio: Marta Conde is a researcher at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona at the Department of Political and Social Sciences. She holds a degree in Agricultural Engineering (UPC), masters in Environmental Science (Birkbeck College, London) and a doctorate in Ecological Economics (UAB). Dr. Conde has previously worked as a researcher at Durham University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Conde's research focuses on the social reactions to the expansion of extractive industries at the commodity frontiers, where succesful contestations of the imperative of endless economic growth can have direct and positive impacts in the lives of these communities. Using political ecology, ecological economics and political economy Conde studies the the drivers, strategies and discourses of resistance movements to mining. Conde's other research interests include the interactions between science, activism and knowledge-creation by grassroots organisation, the use and expansion of the concept of environmental justice in the South and the link between resource extraction and economic growth.

Listen to the seminar-recording:

 

EXALT-presentation: "Global Extractivisms: Unpacking and broadening the concept"

The HELSUS Global South Encounters is a series of seminars and small talks intended to sharpen critical research in sustainability science. Recognizing the complexities and peculiarities of the Global South, these seminars engage  mainstream sustainability science in order to transcend it, among others by decolonizing nature, economy, society and methodologies. The seminars aim to open up space to get prior feedback on a forthcoming talk, an ongoing dissertation, a draft article, and a variety of research from students at all levels, academics, and members of the general public. Encounters also welcome discussions on giving conference papers and celebrate/publicize published papers.

April 15th, at 13.00-14.30

Join the online-seminar via this link.

Speakers: 

  • Professor Barry Gills - professor of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and a founding member of the EXALT Initiative
  • Saana Hokkanen - Research Assistant at EXALT
  • Chair: Markus Kröger - Associate professor of Development Studies, University of Helsinki

Presentation abstract:

The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) is a new international network of scholars, activists, and policymakers dedicated to collaboration and knowledge creation around the pressing crises stemming from extractivist policies and practices. This Initiative draws together diverse critical analyses of the phenomena of global extractivisms and the myriad alternatives being actively pursued in both theory and practice. This presentation aims to continue the discussion around extractivism and its alternatives, by offering a discussion-opener of critical and holistic understandings of extractivism as an organizing concept, beyond the conventional usage connected to natural resources. The presentation aims to explore the concept of “extractivism” via a range of social, cultural, and ecological perspectives.

Climate Emergency and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic

March 12, 2020
13 – 15 at the Think Corner Stage

Climate emergency is accelerating in the Arctic region at an alarming rate. It is impacting the fragile ecosystems and diverse linguistic and cultural communities. Rampant extractivism and its consequent ecological destruction are eroding nature as well as the cultural fabric of local Indigenous communities. Intensive extraction of natural resources is fueling the scramble for the Arctic and tying the area tightly to the capitalist world-system.

This panel discussion will tackle the situations of Indigenous peoples in the changing Arctic, how livelihoods have started to alter and what roles does extractivism play with its myriad of direct and indirect consequences for the well-being of the Arctic. The panel offers a forum for Indigenous representatives and researchers to offer insights on the complex entanglement of climate emergency, Indigenous peoples' sovereignty and Arctic extractivism. It also addresses the questions of future generations and the Anthropocene from the perspective of Arctic Indigenous peoples.

In the context of changing ecosystems and neocolonial practices taking place in the North, there is an urgent need for radical new governance models for the whole of Arctic. As Indigenous peoples hold environmental knowledge crucial for producing sustainable practices in the region, their knowledge is vital in creating new governance models and offering already existing examples of sustainable resource management in the Arctic.

Speakers:

  • Leo Aikio - Elected Vice-president of the Finnish Sámi Parliament (saamelaiskäräjät) and a reindeer-herder from Inari, Sápmi
  • Hanna Guttorm - Postdoctoral researcher of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki, member of INEQ and HELSUS

  • Dmitry Arzyutov - Researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm

  • Atte Korhola - Professor of Environmental Change at the University of Helsinki

  • Panel host: Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen (Indigenous Studies, University of Helsinki)

The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT), the Indigenous Studies programme and ALL-YOUTH -research project funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC).

Video-recording of the event.

January 16, 2020, 13 – 15 at the Think Corner Stage

Earth is currently facing an unprecedented climate emergency, which has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. The need for deep and transformative action is urgent, and universities are in a key position to work as pioneers in sustainable climate action.

This brainstorming dialogue will feature 3 short talks (from a representative from the university management, a professor, and a student activist) and a facilitated panel discussion exploring questions such as: How could and should the University of Helsinki address the climate emergency? What can researchers, students and university governance do? What does a university as a climate actor look like?

Speakers:

University Management: Vice-Rector Tom Böhling

Professor: Dr. Barry Gills, Development Studies

Student Activist: Laura Kolehmainen, founder of Ilmastoveivi and Climate Move, student of politics and law

Facilitator: Dr. Ossi Ollinaho, HELSUS and EXALT

The aim of the event is to offer a forum to discuss and reflect on the university's own position as part of a currently unsustainable society, but also to tap into its potential in countering the climate emergency and finding solutions toward a sustainable future with a focus on developing the basis for concrete proposals for action by the University.

The event is co-organized by The Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) and the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS).

The event at the Think Corner stage is open for all with no registration. If you are planning to join us from 15 – 16 for Coffee/Conversation at the HELSUS Hub Lounge (Porthania 2nd floor, Yliopistonkatu 3), please fill in this e-lomake to let us know.  We ask for registration so we can order an appropriate amount of coffee and reduce any potential waste.

Event’s Facebook-page

We hope to see you on January 16 to discuss this important and timely topic!

Professor Barry Gills' talk at the event "(Re)purposing the University to tackle the Climate Emergency" at the University of Helsinki, January 16th, 2020

SEE THE FULL EVENT VIDEO STREAM HERE!