Conflicting and entangled human-nature relationships: a discursive-material analysis of the documentary film Kiruna - a brand new world.

Published online
07 Aug 2022
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Carpentier, N. & Doudaki, V. & Pajerová, A. R.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
Sweden & Nordic Countries


Kiruna - A Brand New World (2019) is a documentary film directed by Greta Stocklassa, and produced by the Czech company Analog Vision. It analyses the move of (part of) Kiruna, a north-Swedish mining city, which is threatened by destruction because of the operations of the state-owned ore mining company, Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara (LKAB). The film focusses on the lives of a number of inhabitants, including Timo, a local activist opposing the move, the teenage Sami Maja and Abdalrahman, a teenage refugee from Yemen. Our discursive-material analysis (see Carpentier, 2017) focusses on how the film represents and intervenes in a discursive-material struggle over the identity of three actors - the soil, the city and the mine - and their interconnections. The article starts with a theoretical discussion on discourse theory, enriched by new materialist approaches, to develop a theoretical framework that does justice to the discursive-material entanglement. This framework is then used to identify a hegemonic cluster of discourses that give meaning to nature, consisting of anthropocentrism, dualism and prometheanism, and a counterhegemonic cluster, consisting of ecocentrism, integrationism and survivalism. The analysis shows that the documentary film shows the workings of the hegemonic cluster (centred around the topoi of progress and TINA), but also visualizes the gaps in, and limits of, this hegemonic cluster. Second, the film also gently highlights the discursive-material conflict by giving voice to those who identify with the counterhegemonic discourses, and by representing the soil as having material agency, resisting its exploitation.

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