Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
This presentation addresses the changing climates of capitalism and the reactions to these through an examination of the transformation of the forest industry with a specific focus on the North American pulp and paper industry. Globalization, environmental controversies, developments in production, information and communications technology, and changing markets have stimulated shifts in the industry from North America and northern Europe to South America and parts of Asia. This has accompanied changes in structures of ownership, control and the organization of labour, that are complexly bound up with Indigenous rights and environmental issues, as well as social and economic dislocations in communities that have been abandoned by capital and, arguably, by organized labour. Meanwhile climate change has spurred new discourses about the bio- or circular-economy, the opportunities this may entail for a struggling industry, and the roles and relationships of land (or natural resources), labour, capital and the State in such a future economy. While digital communications have undermined the market for newsprint, it has helped to stimulate markets for other kinds paper products, and nano-cellulose technologies open possibilities for new products and further exploitation of forests. Whether this represents a moment for progressive transformation toward a collectively shared greener future or a further step in the commodification and alienation of nature in the name of capital accumulation will be discussed.