Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Cobalt as a Political Artifact: Revealing Equity Gaps of the Sustainable Development Movement  
Neeraja Kulkarni (The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores the nature of cobalt as a political artifact as an intersection between Science, Technology, and Society (STS) studies and political theory to identify institution-led equity gaps in the sustainable development movement.

Paper long abstract:

Cobalt is a critical mineral; its role in modern renewable energy technologies is crucial for humanity’s drive toward accomplishing the UN SDGs. However, the 2002 Global Witness report exposed human rights violations in DRC; economic vulnerability, conflict, rape, child labor, and food insecurity. It is a matter of concern that such ironies are embedded in the global economy. In this paper, based on the arguments of Langdon Winner in a Marxist framework, I explore cobalt as a political artifact and how it can reveal equity gaps in the energy transition. To do so, first, this paper presents a theoretical framework based on Marx’s arguments of three interacting forces and associated despotism. To begin with, based on the Marxist institutional framework, this paper illustrates the exploitation in DRC that is embedded in cobalt building on Amartya Sen’s conceptualization of freedom as development. Then, based on Winner’s arguments, this paper emphasizes cobalt’s flexibility as a political artifact on the political implications of artifacts and assesses the political implications of cobalt in the institutional framework. Furthermore, based on the dynamic implications and Sheila Jasanoff’s co-production, I put forth the ‘political overlapping’ in cobalt. Lastly, I bring forth her arguments on Socio-technical Imaginaries (STI) to identify the equity gaps of the sustainable development movement in the context of the cobalt economy.

Panel P27
The extractive politics of Africa’s energy transition: A new dawn or more of the same?
  Session 2 Friday 28 June, 2024, -