The secret and gendered lives of the underground

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    The underground—for decades the invisible ‘other’ of landscape and terrain in geography—has emerged in political ecology literature as the source of ‘stuff’, or material things, resources and commodities that are not deemed intrinsically valuable until extracted. As a corrective, this paper offers a feminist political ecology perspective that brings subaltern women’s voices to the forefront, and argues that the underground is co-constituted as a gendered space by gendered humans. As evidence, I take the readers on a journey into the belly of a coalmine where humans labour, and bring out women’s voices that narrate their experiences and imaginations to create the underground as a space teeming with social life. These alternative and gendered narratives reinstate the diverse, complex, and secret lives of this netherworld, draw attention to the politics of imagining space, and potentially shift geographers’ focus to interpreting the underground as a gendered social space.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1671-1689
    JournalGender, Place and Culture
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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