Chimeras of Resource Geographies: unbounding ontologies and knowing nature
Book chapter, 2021

In the field of critical resource geographies, work on “socionatures” is well established. However, this growing body of work bridging across the social and natural sciences has not erased a number of frictions associated with disciplinary boundary crossing. We highlight three types of outcomes: epistemic closure, stickiness and sparks. We invite the figure of the chimera, a mythical creature of destruction and incommensurate parts, to argue for a plural—as opposed to hybrid—approach to resource geographies. We propose that far from being a position of “no discipline”, interdisciplinarity requires the embodying of multiple disciplines and the ability to understand how they relate and translate. For critical resource geographies, the chimera suggests that striving for consensus or dismissing other framings are both counterproductive. The chimera symbolizes an embodiment of plural positions, but rather than bringing chaos, she opens up a fruitful and multi-layered terrain of meaning, where new questions and perspectives come into view. We suggest that this is a highly productive terrain, but it meets with stubborn resistance from the scientific community. We counter it with the strangeness and ambiguity of the chimera to investigate the possibilities to “unbound” resource geographies throughmultiple ontologies.


Helene Ahlborg

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis

Andrea J. Nightingale

University of Oslo

The Routledge Handbook of Critical Resource Geography

9781138358805 (ISBN)

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History of Ideas


Other Social Sciences

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