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

See all articles by Melinda Benson

Melinda Benson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 7, 2011

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Benson, Melinda, Mining Sacred Space: Law’s Enactment of Competing Ontologies in the American West (November 7, 2011). Environment and Planning A 44: 1443-1458, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2017945

Melinda Benson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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