Date of Award

4-2002

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Dr. Robert Storey

Abstract

This dissertation places contemporary struggles over logging in old-growth coastal forests within a historical analysis of the development of capitalist forestry in British Columbia. In part A we argue that the history of capitalist forestry has been profoundly marked by labour and environmental movements. It is argued that these movements have resisted the exploitation of capital, engendered both political and economic crisis, and (generally) pushed capital and the state into more social forms of production. Speaking to silences in academic and popular accounts, the work of these social movements is centred and it is argued that their relation offers a key to understanding the remaking of capitalist forestry. Particular attention is given to moments of inter-movement cooperation, the environmental politics of forestry unions and the ideological projects of capital and the state. Part B is a case study of capitalist forestry and forest worker/environmental movement relations in Squamish, British Columbia. Drawing from historical records and interviews with forestry workers and environmental group members, struggles over loggingin the nearby Upper Elaho Valley are grounded in a historical political ecology of the area Special attention is directed at the job-environment tradeoffs of capitalist forestry and to the potential of forestry unions to resist this job blackmail. Throughout this work we draw from, and seek to elaborate, radical political ecology as the nexus of class theory and environmental sociology. We contend that this theoretical lens offers the greatest hope for understanding the relation of natural environment, capitalist production and class and environmental politics.

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