Martín Arboleda
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Circuits of extraction and the metabolism of urbanisation
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The reorganisation of the extractive industries into transnational supply chains has signalled the functional integration of hitherto dispersed elements of social production and brought together natural resources and built environments, as well as city and non-city space, in novel and ever more intricate ways. This demands decentring the process of metabolic urbanisation beyond the predominant role that is usually attributed to cities; specifically, it involves grasping the ways in which the dynamics of capital accumulation taking place across planetary hinterlands are also reshaping urban environments in substantial ways. On the basis of Marx’s theorisation of the circulation of capital – laid out in Volume II of Capital – the paper develops the notion of circuits of extraction in order to rethink the extractive industries from the standpoint of three contradictory, crisis-riven, yet interrelated circulatory systems: a productive circuit of extraction; a commodity circuit of extraction; and a money circuit of extraction. With this the chapter contributes to the development of an expanded conception of extractivism that is rooted in the actual dynamics of production and circulation of raw materials, but that can also illustrate the ways in which the extractive industries are remaking urban, financial, and logistical landscapes in their own image.

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