Precarity and Extractivism

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This line of my research focuses on large-scale coal extraction and dispossession in Mozambique. Between 2015 and 2016, I spent 15 months in Mozambique, investigating social effects and impacts of dispossession caused by coal extraction in the province of Tete.

 

The most significant part of this research was four months I spent in a resettlement village called Cateme that was built by Vale, a Brazilian mining company, that resettled over 1,700 families  displaced by coal mining in the region of Tete.

 

During those four months, I lived with one resettled family and carried out ethnographic research with the community of Cateme. I specifically focused on understanding the lived experiences of the people subjected to dispossession and resettlement, as well as the coping strategies that they have had to employ, and the spatial dimensions of these processes in relation to the extractive enclave in Tete and Mozambique’s political economy at large. 

In this ethnographic context, I explore the following 3 questions: 

1. How are emotional, bodily, everyday dispositions of marginalised lives, often in or on the verge of loss, structured, as well as resist, destructive forces of global capitalist development that unfold through extractivism?

 

2. What is the relationship between the contemporary world order, shaped by relentless intensification of extractive capital accumulation, and vulnerable groups that contest the ruination and effacement of their lives constituted through different modes of extractivism?

3. What are key characteristics of this intersection between global capital flows – that unevenly shape social and material landscapes that they encounter – and dispossessed lives that struggle to stay afloat amidst tidal waves of natural resource discovery, financial investment, and social disruption? 

I provide a set of ethnographically grounded, theoretical answers to these questions in my first research monograph The Politics of Precarity: Spaces of Extractivism, Violence, and Suffering.

 

 

 

 

Other research articles have been published in African Affairs, Geoforum, and Political Geography.

This research was funded by

The Economic and Social Research Council UK .