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Polanyi in the Pilbara

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This paper outlines a ‘substantivist’ approach to the regional economy of the Pilbara in Western Australia, inspired by a constructive reinterpretation of Karl Polanyi's methodological legacy. Beyond the metaphor of embeddedness, it makes the case for a more wide-ranging methodological engagement with Polanyi's brand of substantivist socioeconomics, in dialogue with the empirical investigation of actually existing and variegated socioeconomic formations. A Polanyian optic, amongst other things, calls attention to enduring sources of heterogeneity in this distinctive regional-economic formation, even under the hegemonies extractive capitalism and neoliberal developmentalism.
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Keywords: Aboriginal economies; Karl Polanyi; economic geography; mining; the Pilbara

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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