Material worlds? Resource geographies and the 'matter of nature'

Karen Bakker, Gavin Bridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Concepts of 'materiality' are increasingly invoked in human geography. This paper discusses siveral recent and influential workings of materiality, and examines their implications for resource geographies. First, we identify a set of analytical questions at the heart of resource geography and characterize the dominant approaches to these questions - the 'production of nature' and the 'social construction of nature' - as yielding diminishing returns. Second, we survey recent work on materiality relating to commodities, corporeality and hybridity and advance the claim that this work provides a number of fresh perspectives with which to revive resource geography. Third, we highlight three specific themes within this research: a radical redistribution and decentering of agency; a revitalization of the concept of 'construction'; and an acknowledgement of the political-economic implications that flow from a world that is biophysically heterogeneous. Finally, we draw on this analysis to explore how progress might be made in the conceptualization and empirical study of resource. © 2006 Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages22
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Agency
  • Embodiment
  • Environment
  • Hybrid
  • Materiality
  • Nature
  • Resource geography
  • Resources
  • Textuality


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