Universiteit Leiden

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AEGIS CRG Workshop on 'Resource Extraction in Africa'

Friday 12 October 2018
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden


In the seventies, studies of resource extraction, and large-scale economic interventions in the south more broadly (called Third World at the time) focused strongly on labour issues. The more recent debates on large-scale land acquisitions in Africa and elsewhere (‘land grabs’) entailed a radical swing to attention for land. Labour seemed a less pertinent issue, particularly due to the fact that the new forms of large-scale land use were less labour intensive. Studies focused on competition over land, and Corporate Social Responsibility was seen to move from the relationship between employer/employee to the relation between TNC’s and local communities residing in the vicinity of the (mining) operations.

However, a return to the ‘labour question’ was signaled by the work of scholars such as Tania Li (2009, 2011) who engaged in discussions over redundancy of local populations, precisely because of the current characteristics of large-scale land investments in Africa. This fed into broader moral discussions on the question of benefit sharing: Can and should labour still be considered the major basis for creating value? Should we not move towards new ways of wealth redistribution? In this discussion, with pertinent relevance for economic issues in both North and South, extraction of resources takes centre stage. Ferguson (2016) shows, for instance, how mineral wealth has a long history of being conceived as something that cannot be owned solely on the basis of labour and capital put into the extraction practices, but as something that belongs to groups of people with long histories in the lands (mostly located in the state as ultimate owner). Subsequently, discussions concerning, for example, resource curse, local content, CSR and employment, can be framed in wider perspectives on (re)distribution of extracted wealth, based on legacies and politics of belonging and more inclusive futures.

The issue of ‘Labour’ has thus returned in scholarly debates, but embedded in debates over the value of land and people living and labouring extractive landscapes. This panel invites papers that address this issue of ‘laboured landscapes’ and the connected (moral) issues of wealth distribution. 

If you want to attend this workshop, please register by sending an email to sluning@fsw.leidenuniv.nl



Room open, coffee/tea

08.45 – 09.00

Opening Sabine Luning & Robert Pijpers

09.00 – 09.45

What is a landscape, anyway? Spatial concepts and metaphors for extractive regions - Katja Werthmann, University of Leipzig

09.45 – 10.30

Changing Forest Cover and Land Use Pressures following Oil Discovery in the Northern Albertine Rift Landscape, Western Uganda: Methodological Learning - Ronald Twongyirwe, Mbarara University of Science and Technology

10.30 – 11.00


11.00 – 11.45

“Tãngpogse”: Downhill's women. Construction of a social status on the South-West gold mining sites (Burkina Faso) - Alizèta Ouedraogo, l’Université Lumière Lyon 2

11.45 – 12.30

Women in the Katangese mining sector: surplus or added value? - Francesca Pugliese, University of Liège

12.30 – 13.45


13.45 – 14.30

Unequal Extractions in China’s Ghanaian Gold Rush: Bringing Class Back In - Gordon Crawford, Coventry University

14.30 – 15.15

Mining capital, land, and labour in the Congolese copperbelt - Benjamin Rubbers, University of Liege

15.15 – 15.45


15.45 – 16.30

Labour, ownership and transparency from the end-side perspective of the gold supply chain - Matthieu Bolay, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

16.30 – 17.15

Flexibilization, social distinctions and masculinities: A case of Zambia’s Mining sector - James Musonda, University of Liege

17.15 – 17.30


Full programme in PDF

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