Territories of Extraction: Mapping Palimpsests of Appropriation

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Territories of Extraction: Mapping Palimpsests of Appropriation


  • Berta Morata Architecture Research Group, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Chiara Cavalieri Faculty of Architecture, Architectural Engineering and Urban Planning, UCLouvain, Belgium
  • Agatino Rizzo Architecture Research Group, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Andrea Luciani Architecture Research Group, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden


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Abstract:  This article—framed as a methodological contribution and at the intersection between the critical urban, urban political ecology and world-ecology disciplines—builds on Corboz’s metaphor of ‘territory as a palimpsest’ to explore the representation of the socio-economic and ecological processes underpinning uneven development under extractive capitalist urbanization. While the palimpsest approach has typically been used to map transformations of more traditional urban morphologies, this work focuses instead on remote extraction territories appropriated by the global economy and integral to planetary urbanization. The article suggests the central notion of ‘palimpsests of appropriation’ as a lens to map the extraction processes. It does so in its multi-scalar and temporal dimensions and on the basis of the three intertwined frames—i.e., the productive, distribution and mediation palimpsest—shortly exemplifying its use on the ground for the iron ore extraction territory in the Swedish-Norwegian Arctic. With this, the article contributes to the development of an expanded representational methodology and conception of territories of extraction—where social and natural production are brought together—illustrating how appropriation has been (re)shaping each of the frames throughout historical thresholds, but also how socio-natures are being (re)made in its image.

Keywords:  appropriation; extraction; palimpsest; planetary urbanization; territory

Published:   30 June 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v5i2.2901


© Berta Morata, Chiara Cavalieri, Agatino Rizzo, Andrea Luciani. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.