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Accepted Paper:

Property regimes and the qualities of resources: the labor of transparency and opacity in Angola's mining industry  
Filipe Calvao (Graduate Institute of Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

Based on ethnographic research of Angola’s diamond industry, this paper proposes a new engagement with mining property regimes (corporate, state, public-private, licit and illicit) as linked to the properties or qualities of the extracted materials.

Paper long abstract:

Different bodies of literature have conceptualized the role of natural resources at the confluence of place, subjectivities, and the politics of natural wealth. While the received impact of such configurations has been identified, less attention has been devoted to the linkage between property regimes and the qualities of working or the objects of labor. This paper describes how the material, aesthetic, and experiential qualities of mining may index the ways in which property relations are imposed, contested, or symbolically encoded. In Angola, diamonds are commonly described as epitomizing opaque regimes of violence while seemingly exposing the bare life of miners. And yet, Angola is currently chairing the rotating presidency of the Kimberley Process (2015), the main international certification scheme meant to ensure transparent revenues and responsible sourcing in the diamond industry. This paper suggests that regimes and qualities of transparency and opacity are co-produced between owner and worker, miner and manager, producer and consumer in the articulation between property regimes and the materiality of that which is extracted. Specifically, the paper attends to the qualitative dimension of transparency and opacity in the alignment between property relations and material objects across a range of qualities and value transformations in the making of workers' lives.

Panel P073
Indelible footprints and unstable futures: anthropology and resource politics
  Session 1