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Book launch

Nick Bainton and Emilka Skrzypek were very pleased to finally launch their new book The Absent Presence of the State in Large-Scale Resource Extraction Projects. On 8th December, the Centre for Energy Ethics at the University of St Andrews hosted a virtual launch, providing an excellent opportunity to showcase the book and discuss how the concept of ‘absent presence’ can contribute to anthropological understandings of state and extractive capitalism.

Published open access with ANU Press, you can download copies of the book here

Contributing authors recorded short two-minute videos explaining how they worked with the absent presence concept and the sorts of ethnographic insights yielded through this lens. You can view the video here

Their ‘absent presence’ project also revealed itself as another critical platform for thinking about the justice issues tied to global energy transitions. As we consider the sorts of pressures and risks associated with increased extraction of critical metals in the Pacific, the state is clearly central to any future extractive scenarios. For example, will Pacific states be more present for extractive companies and their interests, or selectively absent when it comes to supporting local communities and upholding environmental responsibilities? How we conceptualise the state in the context of growing demand for critical metals under conditions of climate change is essential for understanding why certain justice issues arise and what can be done about them.