Sitting next to the Great Barrier Reef, marinated in coal and gas, the industrial boomtown of Gladstone, Australia embodies many of the contradictions of the 'overheated' world: prosperous yet polluted; growing and developing yet always on the precipice of uncertainty.
Capturing Gladstone at the peak of its accelerated growth in 2013-14, Thomas Hylland Eriksen dissects the boomtown phenomenon in all its profound ambivalence. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the book explores the tensions and resentments surrounding migrant workers, and examines local identity, family life, infrastructure and local services.
Writ large in Boomtown are the clashes of scale at the heart of the town's contradictions - where the logic of big industry and the state compete with that of the individual, local communities and ecology, revealing the current crisis of political legitimacy across the world.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and former President of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. He is the author of numerous classics of anthropology, including Small Places, Large Issues - 4th Edition (Pluto, 2015) and What is Anthropology? - 2nd Edition (Pluto, 2017).
Preface Prologue: The High Point of Extractive Industrialism Part I: Citrus, Altius, Fortius 1. A City No Longer in Waiting 2. Australian Identity and Its Double Binds 3. Change in Their Bones 4. The Boomtown Syndrome and the Treadmill Paradox Part II: Clashing Scales 5. Green Voices 6. Dredging the Harbour 7. Slow-Burning Overheating at the East End Mine 8. The Demise of Targinnie 9. Clashing Scales: Globalisation, As we Know It Epilogue: a Boomtown in Decline Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Bibliography