Blaming in the boom and bust: greed accusations in an Australian coal mining town

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In Australian mining towns like Moranbah, relationships between labour, capital and the state have long been defined by struggles over housing amidst cascading
cycles of boom and bust linking global commodity markets to local real estate. Most recently, the emergence of ‘fly-in-fly-out’ labour arrangements, partially in
response to rampant real estate speculation, have challenged mine workers’ rights to housing and community. Focusing on the schadenfreude that accompanied the
public vilification of one failed, small-time real estate speculator as a case study who is contrasted with the figure of the Cashed-up-Bogan, this article shows how
accusations of greed are mobilized to political effect. While greed’s tendency to emerge discursively as an accusation might make it seem like an attractive critical
discourse, its putative connections to embodiment and the visceral give it an individualizing tendency that allows it to be wielded more easily against persons
than institutions, undermining broader structural critiques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-109
Number of pages20
JournalThe Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • coal
  • greed
  • moral economy
  • real estate
  • risk
  • speculation

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