Boomtown: Runaway Globalisation on the Queensland Coast
Thomas Hylland Eriksen explores the ambivalence by telling the story of Gladstone, and relating it to the larger forces of economic globalization at the expense of vulnerable sea nature .
An extract from Boomtown can be accessed here.
A monograph from the Overheating project, Boomtown is an ethnography of accelerated change, depicting an industrial city on the scenic Queensland coast, its prosperity and its contradictions, its discontented environmental activists and its loyal citizens, the growth pains experienced in boomtowns and, above all, the clashing scales made ever more evident in a globalised economy where bigger always seems to be better, except for people who are being overrun and whose voices are not being heard. Here is what the publisher says about the book:
Sitting next to the Great Barrier Reef, marinated in coal and gas, the industrial boomtown of Gladstone, Australia embodies many of the contradictions of the 'overheated' world: prosperous yet polluted; growing and developing yet always on the precipice of uncertainty.
Capturing Gladstone at the peak of its accelerated growth in 2013-14, Thomas Hylland Eriksen dissects the boomtown phenomenon in all its profound ambivalence. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the book explores the tensions and resentments surrounding migrant workers, and examines local identity, family life, infrastructure and local services.
Writ large in Boomtown are the clashes of scale at the heart of the town's contradictions - where the logic of big industry and the state compete with that of the individual, local communities and ecology, revealing the current crisis of political legitimacy across the world.