Under Pressure: Diamond Mining and Everyday Life in Northern Canada
Published: April 2023© 2023
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
Page Count: 188 Pages
Illustrations: 4 b&w illustrations, 2 b&w maps
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
188 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 4 b&w illustrations, 2 b&w maps
Ebook - PDF
In 2007, Canada became the third largest producer of diamonds in the world. Primarily mined on the edge of the Arctic, these diamonds are said to bring economic development and opportunity to nearby Indigenous communities. In Under Pressure, anthropologist Lindsay A. Bell examines the effects of diamond mining on an increasingly diverse northern population.
Through an ethnographic focus on everyday life in Hay River, a multi-ethnic town in the Northwest Territories, this book illustrates the different ways Indigenous, settler, and immigrant northerners navigate the opportunities and obstacles created by large-scale resource development. By situating contemporary diamond mines within the long history of extraction in the region, Bell describes the social, cultural, and economic pressures that shape the people in this Northern community. In contrast to many polarizing accounts that deem mining as either good or bad, Under Pressure uses diamonds as an anthropological prism to consider larger issues related to Arctic extraction, globalization, Indigenous rights, and ethical consumption.
"This well-researched ethnography disrupts the notion that indigeneity and mobility are incompatible. Bell shows that issues surrounding extraction have to be seen in a broader context, both topically and historically. This is an important contribution to the ethnographic literature on mining, and one that can be easily missed in anthropology classes. Looking at dimensions of extraction that have not much been considered, Under Pressure shows a complex phenomenon in an accessible way."Elizabeth Emma Ferry, Brandeis University
"By showing how everyday lives in a northern town become tied to the promises and disappointments of short-lived mega projects, Bell deftly diagnoses a fundamental flaw in contemporary extractive projects and job training programs. Under Pressure is exactly the kind of accessible and innovative scholarship that Canadians need right now to understand the toll that ‘ethical mining’ is taking on northern communities, including would-be migrants imagining hopeful futures for themselves in these places, and the disillusioned others struggling to leave."Tom Özden-Schilling, National University of Singapore