A new article by Anna Stanley in Antipode, “Wasted Life: Labour, Liveliness, and the Production of Value” investigates the link between the uranium extractive industry and Dene environmental health in terms of a powerful calculus that creates wastage and invisibility.
This paper asks how Dene (and alongside it non-human) life is connected to the production and circulation of value in the Canadian uranium economy. I examine the ways in which life links up with value during the lifetime of the mine and at the time of a major public inquiry into its health and ecological effects. Against the backdrop of the highly uneven and deeply racialized economy of nuclear production I make two intertwined arguments. First I argue that “wastage” is a reconfiguration of nature integral to the production of capitalist value in which capital addresses itself directly to the vital processes of (some) living things. Second, at a time when the relational politics that shaped value were being actively subverted by claims publicly advanced by Deline First Nation Dene about cancer death and contamination, I argue that a risk calculation central to the Canada Deline Uranium Table’s analysis worked to governmentally secure evidence of wastage and restore the configurations of in/visibility that shaped value production in this economy.