Antipode has published Tom Perreault’s “Dispossession by Accumulation? Mining, Water and the Nature of Enclosure on the Bolivian Altiplano.” The article is noteworthy not only because it discusses some of the objects of discard studies–namely, pollution– but also because it figures industrial discards as a form of accumulation. The accumulation in question is capitalistic primitive accumulation of resources, goods, and livelihoods by industrial actors, but thinking of the action of wasting as one of hoarding and accumulating is a new way to think through some of these problems. The question will be whether this flip can offer new avenues for a variety of discard studies. I look forward to its future citations.
Abstract: This paper examines processes of primitive accumulation and livelihood dispossession on the Bolivian Altiplano. Through empirical examination of the social and environmental effects of mining waste, the paper demonstrates that indigenous campesino community members are experiencing livelihood dispossession by way of three interrelated forms of accumulation: accumulation of toxic sediments on agricultural fields; accumulation of water and water rights by mining firms; and accumulation of territory by mining operations. In the case under examination, full proletarianization is not taking place, and processes of dispossession are not a “fix” for an overaccumulation crisis. The paper argues for greater attention to the contingent role of nature’s materiality in processes of dispossession and accumulation.