Pervasive Landscapes of Inequality: Want and Abundance within a Hyperobject

Author(s): Kevin Gibbons

Year: 2018


As globalization matures, environmental, social, and economic factors continue to create ever-expanding landscapes of inequality. Among these drivers, human-driven environmental degradation has, for centuries, operated as a significant producer of inequality. Anthropogenic climate change today perpetuates and strengthens these multi-generational, regional-scale phenomena of landscape change. These processes, such as sediment erosion in Iceland during the past millennium, create a ‘second nature’ landscape of human design that create and reinforce resource scarcity and thus, social and economic inequality. These ‘second nature’ landscapes are self-perpetuating; their cause so viscous and nonlocal that they regularly defy our perception. Timothy Morton has referred to objects such as climate change as ‘hyperobjects.’ This paper discusses the implications of hyperobjects for archaeology and historical ecology in the context of the long-term roots and intersectional character of resource justice issues. Further work to understand and contextualize the multi-generational human-environmental feedbacks that perpetuation landscapes of inequality and resource scarcity has the potential to generate insights into contemporary dilemmas and provide archaeologists with anchors for advocacy strengthened by data over the longue durée.

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Pervasive Landscapes of Inequality: Want and Abundance within a Hyperobject. Kevin Gibbons. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444357)

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min long: -97.031; min lat: 0 ; max long: 10.723; max lat: 64.924 ;

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Abstract Id(s): 22597