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Fabricating a steel city
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 09:37 authored by Jesse Negro
The city and its urban environment have been largely under-theorised in the field of Anthropology. This thesis considers the theorisation of urban environments in a study of the steel industry in the Illawarra region. The economic profitability of the Port Kembla, or BlueScope, Steelworks has decreased over the past ten years and threatened with closure on multiple occasions. My research aims to investigate how policies directed towards the steel industry, and relationships between local, national and global processes, are shaping the Illawarra's urban environment. To address this question, this thesis investigates four processes: the rise and fall of the steel city, and the logics both for and against the production of steel at Port Kembla. It will consider the existence of local activism, particularly the 'save our steel' (or SOS) campaign, which has been instrumental in the creation of the steel protection bill. The negative attitudes towards the steel industry stem from environmental and health concerns as well as issues of exploitation. Finally, this thesis seeks to answer questions concerning the region's development in the future with or without steel, based on policy projections, case studies, and fears or hopes of my field participants.