RESOURCE WORLDS

Social Explorations of Resource Extraction

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Mining, Environments and the role of Anthropologists

By Lorenzo D’Angelo, University of Milano-Bicocca

The continued economic and ecological crises of recent years have again shown how economists and international leaders have overestimated the ability of markets to expand and self-regulate. In a finite world, dominated by a social imaginary of infinite progress and magically generated wealth (Comaroff, Comaroff 2001), the appropriation of resources and control over the commons are the reasons behind an increasing number of conflicts and structural inequalities (Strang, Busse 2011). To escape from the “specter of impoverishment fostered by unlimited growth benefiting only a few” (Nash 2006: 36), we need to critically rethink the relationship between societies and environments. As Melissa Checker (2009) has pointed out, anthropology can offer an important contribution to academic and public debate by inviting and inspiring an in-depth analysis of recent social and environmental changes. Continue reading

Anthropologists in the company of gatekeepers

By Sabine Luning, Leiden University

My recent start of new fieldwork in Suriname and French Guiana raises interesting questions about ‘entering the field’. How is it that the process of negotiating access to people and places is in itself a major source of knowledge about power relations? 

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Landscapes

The extraction of natural resources produces particular resource environments, or landscapes of resource extraction. These landscapes are dynamic systems that people try to influence, contest, operate within or benefit from. The pictures in this exhibition depict the wide variety of interpretations of `Landscape´.

Shining diamonds: of global connections and local lifeworlds

By Robert Pijpers, University of Oslo

Resources are all around us, they are in the screen you are now looking at, in the Olympic medals that have recently been generously awarded at the Olympics in Brazil, in the cars, bikes and trains we use to transport ourselves with and in the houses we live in. For many of us, resources are in the ground they are working on - digging, breaking, sifting, washing this ground in order to extract that valuable product, be it coltan, stone or diamonds - or operating machines, managing human resources, building mining infrastructure, functioning in the boards of companies and trading on the stock market. For others, resources are the reason for resettlement and dispossession, for conflict and for environmental disasters. In other words, resources and their extraction are a crucial daily reality for everybody, be it in the (potentially combined) form of production and consumption, as challenge and opportunity.    

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Gold fever in Sakolabada, Mali

Sakolabada is a new town which completely depends on gold mining. Officially, it doesn´t exist, it doesn´t show on any official administrative map.  However, in this non-existent town, life never stops.

In this film from July 2016, Sidylamine Bagayoko (University of Bamako-ULSHB) explores some of the urgent dynamics associated with artisanal gold mining and (informal) settlements in Mali.

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