Browsing Senior Theses by Subject "Abandoned mined lands reclamation -- Kentucky"
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- ItemReplacing the Mountain: Contested Aesthetics and the Hegemony of Value in the Eastern Kentucky Coalfields(2008) Chao, Corey; Hart, Laurie KainI argue that competing understandings and articulations of land value surround surface mining and reclamation projects in the Central Appalachian coalfields, and that those articulations involving "profit," "development," and "modernity" are disproportionately supported and expressed by government officials, wealthy landowners, and coal companies. The emphasis by such powerful actors on these forms of land value reinforces a logic that poses current forms of "economic development" as legitimate and universally beneficial (if not essential) uses of land, no matter how unequally the economic benefits or the lived side-effects of this particular "development" process are distributed. The reclamation sites around which I focused my fieldwork both exemplify current understandings of this logic of "development" and reveal where and how it is contested. The visibility of particular benefits—such as creation of jobs, access to new goods and services, etc—the prevalence of the symbols of dereliction and prosperity, and the relative invisibility of unreclaimed land, active operations, and their detrimental side effects create an uneasy consent among the majority of the region's residents. Surface mining and reclamation politics reinforce existing power inequalities by favoring the system of value which holds profit and environmental exploitation at its heart.