Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
This paper explores the conflicting and competing capitalist timescapes that are generated through resource-making practices among junior oil and gas corporations in Alberta, Canada. Taking up new perspectives concerning ‘resource-making’ (Richardson and Weszkalnys 2014; Karg 2019) and ‘resource temporalities’(Weszkalnys & Karg 2017), capitalist time and ‘timescapes’ (May & Thrift 2003, Bear 2014; Hodges 2012), the paper illustrates how capital devices (Muneisa et al 2017), such as geological maps and probability curves play with space and time as a technology of imagining potential profits that can be generated through the anticipatory economies of oil and gas assets (Doganova 2014; Muniesa et al 2017; Weszkalyns 2014, 2015; Wood 2016). Understood as the space-time of an asset’s cash flow, ‘asset time’ works to legitimate the scaling of a resource discovery and to further lure potential investors. Yet, increasingly, such devices, while crafted through normative industry trials with capital, are insufficient to ‘conjure [new] capital’ (Tsing 2005). This failure to conjure is inextricably connected not only to price downturns but also to routine conflicts with ‘infrastructure time’ (Appel 2019). Canada’s pipeline infrastructure is embroiled in environmental controversy, settler colonialism, narratives of energy transition, regional politics and new legal and regulatory approval regimes, that disrupt the legitimacy of asset time as a key signal of economy. Thus, the paper explores the state and configurations of ‘suspended time’ that increasingly shape petrocapitalist projects of return in Alberta.