Territorialisation, Authority and (Slow) Violence in Gold Mines in Guinea
(Paris Nanterre University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses territorialisation as a form of "slow violence" in the Guinean gold mining context. It questions the use of state procedures by industrial gold mining companies - such as military interventions - to create sovereign territories within the State, at the expense of the population.
Paper long abstract:
This paper raises the issue of the state's official violence, and how it can insecure the local population in the Guinean gold mining context. Artisanal gold mining has been practiced for centuries in the region of Upper-Guinea. It historically relies on seasonal mobility between villages and temporary camps surrounding the mining fields. Since the 2000's and the gold price increases, artisanal mining mobility has expanded and has been more and more rigorously controlled by state authorities at industrial mining companies' request. In 2015, the Guinean government has forbidden the implementation of temporary camps and conducted military interventions to make artisanal miners leave several areas exploited by industrial companies. My objective is to analyse the use of state procedures by industrial mining companies to understand "slow violence", and to question the ambiguous role of State in the more general process of territorialisation and land appropriation. Building upon a 20 months ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2011 et 2017, I will firstly describe how the Guinean state militarily supports industrial mining companies to secure their perimeter and infrastructures, given them the sovereignty on their territories. Then, I will interrogate the ambiguous role of the state in the expelling of the local population (officially to secure them), while protecting mining infrastructures which seem to become a state within the state. Finally, I will analyse territorialisation as a form of "slow violence" led by the State, in a mining context where lands are highly damaged and people more and more precarious.
Environments and infrastructures of slow violence