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Geology and world politics: mineral resource appraisals as tools of geopolitical calculation, 1919-1939

Geologie und Weltpolitik: Rohstoffschätzungen als Instrumente geopolitischen Kalküls, 1919-1939

Westermann, Andrea


Bitte beziehen Sie sich beim Zitieren dieses Dokumentes immer auf folgenden Persistent Identifier (PID):http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-425507

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Abstract How is nature transformed into natural resources? Histories analyzing the state sciences of agriculture and forestry in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries showed that these sciences redefined nature as natural resources by making them amenable to cameralistic calculation, bookkeeping and accountability. Against this background, my first line of inquiry is exploring how, over the twentieth century, nonfuel mineral resource appraisals, i.e. attempts to quantify the metal content of the earth’s crust, became the first hold that societies took on earth matters, transforming them into mineral resources. My second objective is to describe and explain a widening of scope. Around 1900, geologists and other mineral resource experts began to appraise minerals on a global scale and survey trends in the worldwide production and consumption of minerals. I argue that, after World War I, states started to use global mineral resource appraisals as tools of geopolitical calculation, aimed at measuring and managing both natural resources and state power relations. The global perspective was only one reason why mineral resources became amenable to economic and political management on a vast scale, though. In addition, global mineral resource supply and estimates had to be cast and discussed in an explicitly functionalist language in order to fit the interwar technocratic ideas of planning and maintaining world order.
Thesaurusschlagwörter geopolitics; world order; raw material deposits; preserving natural resources; natural resources; commodity policy; globalization; industrialization; international relations; technocracy; mining; historical development
Klassifikation allgemeine Geschichte; Naturwissenschaften, Technik(wissenschaften), angewandte Wissenschaften; internationale Beziehungen, Entwicklungspolitik
Freie Schlagwörter history of the earth sciences
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2015
Seitenangabe S. 151-173
Zeitschriftentitel Historical Social Research, 40 (2015) 2
Heftthema Climate and beyond: knowledge production about the earth as a signpost of social change
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.12759/hsr.40.2015.2.151-173
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht-kommerz.