Boomtown. Runaway globalisation on the Queensland coast
Thomas Hylland Eriksen
London: Pluto Press
Year of publication
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.