Refracted Economies: Diamond Mining and Social Reproduction in the North
Published: January 2022© 2022
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 286 Pages
Illustrations: 3 b&w illustrations, 8 b&w figures
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
286 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.65 in, 3 b&w illustrations, 8 b&w figures
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, diamonds have been lauded as a "glistening" driver of the northern Canadian economy. Canadian diamonds are cast with an imagined purity as though they had emerged by magic. However, these diamonds are mined on Dene land and extracted by people who fly in from afar, separated from their families for long periods of time.
Adopting a decolonizing and feminist approach to political economy, Refracted Economies analyses the impact of diamond mining in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The book centres on Indigenous women’s social reproduction labour – both at the mine sites and at sites of community, home, and care – as a means of understanding the diffuse impacts of the diamond mines. Grounded in ethnographic work, the narratives of northern Indigenous women’s multiple labours offer unique insight into the gendered ways northern land and livelihoods have been restructured by the diamond industry.
Rebecca Jane Hall draws on documentary analysis, interviews, and talking circles in order to understand and appreciate the – often unseen – labour performed by Indigenous women. Placing this day-to-day labour at the heart of her analysis, Hall shows that it both reproduces the mixed economy and resists the gendered violence of settler colonialism as exemplified by extractive capitalism.
Part One: Theorizing the Northern Mixed Economy
2. An Expanded Approach to Production
3. Wıìlıìdeh’s Mixed Economy
Part Two: The Political Economy of Diamonds
4. The Global Political Economy of Canadian Diamonds
5. The Northwest Territories Diamond-Mining Regime
Part Three: Indigenous Women’s Labour and the Diamond Mines
6. Time, Place, and the Diamond-Mining Regime
7. Social Reproduction and the Diamond-Mining Regime
8. Diamonds, Subsistence, and Resistance
"Refracted Economies is an important and lively book, illuminated by Hall’s sensitive intelligence and deft synthesis of the main theoretical approaches to questions of gender and northern development. It will be read by all who seek a deeper understanding of the way in which resource capitalism is reordering lives in the North."Frances Abele, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University
"This is a timely book and an original contribution to scholarship on gender, extractive industries, and political economy studies in the North. It takes up the gendered pressure and separation between place-based social reproduction and time-based extractive capitalist economy in a groundbreaking way that also considers Indigenous ontologies. Hall’s arguments are convincing and the level of nuance in the analysis is compelling."Rauna Kuokkanen, Research Professor of Arctic Indigenous Studies, University of Lapland
"This superb study combines an exposé of diamond mining’s impact on the lives of Inuit, Dene, and Métis women with brilliant theoretical and methodological innovations. Hall’s feminist political economy produces an analysis of social reproduction that highlights the importance of Indigenous women’s acts of resistance in defending their land-based economic alternatives to capitalism. And it’s a pleasure to read!"Meg Luxton, Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, York University