Mining Sacred Space: Law’s Enactment of Competing Ontologies in the American West
Environment and Planning A 44: 1443-1458, 2012
16 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013
Date Written: November 7, 2011
Current controversies over uranium mining in the American West are about more than competing legal requirements; they are about competing conceptualisations of space that are grounded in different ontologies. Laws — in this case the General Mining Law of 1872 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 — play a performative role by enacting and materializing these ontologies. The occupation of New Mexico’s Mount Taylor by both ‘old’ and ‘new’ legal forms provides an opportunity to better examine their corresponding spatiality. The National Historic Preservation Act, in particular, creates an interesting, ‘new space’ may have the capacity to challenge Eurocentric notions of ownership.
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