Into the mine: Wicked reflections on decolonial thinking and technologies

Débora de Castro Leal*, A.M. Bustamante Duarte, Max Krüger, Angelika Strohmayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Our global livelihoods are intrinsically tied to mining. The technologies we use, as currently designed, are not possible without the minerals and metals that are an essential part of several of their components. As a result, HCI research and applications are tightly dependent on mining, including the negative environmental and social impacts resulting from it. This paper aims to describe and reflect on this problematic entanglement as a ”wicked cycle.” We present a dilemma faced by communities living near mining sites in the Amazon, which are affected by the ecological impacts of mining and rely on digital technologies made with such mines’ products, including telecommunication technologies, to effectively and successfully advocate for and realise their own local visions of development. We promote a discussion built on concepts from decolonial thinking and critical sustainability. With this paper, we want to create space and necessity to acknowledge our complicity as HCI researchers in this dilemma and propose a series of questions to reflect on our part in these specific, and other, wicked cycles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationC and T 2021 - Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Communities and Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationWicked Problems in the Age of Tech
EditorsFlorian Cech, Shelly Farnham
PublisherACM Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-9056-9
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2021
EventThe 10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies : Wicked Problems in the Age of Tech - Seattle, United States
Duration: 20 Jun 202125 Jun 2021
Conference number: 10


ConferenceThe 10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies
CountryUnited States
Internet address


  • Mining
  • Wicked problems
  • Decolonial
  • Ecofeminism
  • Amazon rainforest


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