Blockies and Black Soil: The Sociology of Coal Seam Gas protest on the Western Downs
Blockies and Black Soil: The Sociology of CSG Protest in Western Downs Dr Mark Bahnisch Director, FAQ Research 18 July 2012 CSRER, University of Newcastle
Contexts• CSG: $45 billion investment in Queensland• A ‘sleeper’ issue before the state election on March 24? ... Ignored or adversarially framed by media• ‘Lock the Gate’ – since 2010• Ian Hayllor – ‘The gate is already open’• Field research – February 22-25 2012• Coal Seam Gas – Behind the Seams
‘Radicalising the West’? A new paradigm• ‘Surprising alliances’• Rights and land use• Tactics• The Akubras were thrown down, but all that happened was 2 minutes on tv• The Katters and homophobia and racism• Not actually an election issue – to the degree that it would swing votes
Regional contexts• It’s not just about farmers• Tara, Dalby, Chinchilla• The ‘Blockies’ – “where dysfunctional people come to become functional”• Keywords – liveability, lifestyle, sustainability, co-existence• But how does a conservative social formation respond?
Post the election• Regional plans as opposed to ‘strategic cropping’, $ for regions• Dismantling DERM• ‘Social licence’ - ?• Land and Water Commissioner• The Blockies will die in the ditch for the Black Soil farmers, but they are out of the game• Community? Social policy?• Don’t forget the Labor frame...• Science as intervention
Nodes of contestation• John Mathison, KAP Candidate for Condamine – “first they fight on the economy, then on the science, then on the law”• In what way is this a new politics? Is it a new politics?• Organised or putatively organised around a relation to nature rather than around relations of production• But that discourse cannot ground a politics
Big hats, DIDO, neo-liberals and neo- liberals on bikes• Cr Ray Brown – lifestyle/liveability not invariant• Science and folk science• Is this a debate within neo-liberalism, neo-liberals with big hats and neo-liberals on bikes?• The arbitral model individualised – and the native title model ‘last man standing’• Indigenous Economics/Science/Law• Where is ‘home’ for the DIDOs?• Different modalities of temporality, governing from a smaller distance