dIScover Seminar: Smarter, Greener Extractivism

A city next to a forest

Event details

Thursday 15 February 2024


A research seminar from  

Pat Brodie, School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin, Ireland

Organised by the Digital Societies Research Group

The past several years have seen increased scholarly attention to the concept of “extraction” and “extractivism” as critical frameworks, especially in terms of environmental geographies and climate action. These are not only concepts and processes through which to understand material extraction but also expanded formations of extraction as requiring an assemblage of interlocking activities united under an umbrella of exploitative, material economic practices. Building on theories of “green extractivism” in the digital sphere and drawing upon participant observation and policy analysis in the data centre industry, this presentation will argue that in the form of interconnected climate and digital infrastructures, tech capital is shoring up its role in green transformations, including in the grid systems that are adapting away from fossil fuel supply to intermittent energy sources and increasing demand from data centres. In this way, data centres are becoming technologies of green extractivism for overlapping projects of digital grid transformations and climate-friendly capitalism. 

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