Video: Alexandra Deem on the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement

Alexandra Deem introduces her Theory, Culture & Society article ‘Mediated Intersections of Environmental and Decolonial Politics in the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement

This article explores the politics of digital protest and emergent forms of sociality in the #NoDAPL (No Dakota Access Pipeline) movement using Elizabeth Povinelli’s concept of geontopower. I begin by situating the concept of geontopower in relation to a range of biopolitical, decolonial, and ecocritical theory in order to show its importance in conceptualizing the interconnectedness of decolonial and environmental interests. I use this theoretical framework to analyze several instances of what I call ‘digital decoloniality’ in the #NoDAPL movement, cases where the particular affordances of social media technologies and the efforts of Indigenous activists and non-Indigenous allies disrupted normative assumptions regarding the boundaries of the digital and ‘analog’ worlds and resisted the geontopolitical structuring of life and nonlife. I argue that the #NoDAPL hashtag works to enact the prerogatives of Western science-based environmentalism and Indigenous epistemological tenets in common, performatively generating new possibilities for conceptualizing social struggle and shared history.