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Imagining resource frontiers: state, violence and extraction 
Asebe Regassa Debelo (University of Zurich)
Gutu Olana Wayessa (University of Helsinki)
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Economy and Development (x) Decoloniality & Knowledge Production (y)
Neues Seminargebäude, Seminarraum 23
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Africa has become a new resource frontier in the global political economy. The new resource rush entangles future imaginations about the "Africa Rising" narrative with the colonial past. Postcolonial states also reproduce notions of Africa's poverty in their pursuit to legitimise resource extraction

Long Abstract:

Since the turn of the 21st century, Africa’s resource frontiers marked the convergence of classical geographical imaginations of the margins of the state as ‘full of resources but empty of people’, and violent capitalist accumulation. Developmentalist narratives of postcolonial states, coupled with historical center-periphery relations, enunciated a new vision of the future and representation of the past about spaces and societies. Resource frontiers are now marked as Africa’s futures: the notion of ‘Africa Rising’ often casts future development on conversion of these spaces into productive commodities. States often legitimize violent processes of installing sovereign authority in peripheral regions as a continuation of state building projects. In a nutshell, Africa’s resource frontiers represent what Anna Tsing calls frictions, or epistemic and discursive encounters entailing the assemblage of history, geographical imaginations, and visions of the future (development and state consolidation). This panel invites papers that critically address resource frontiers as material, spatial and discursive spaces upon which state’s representation of the past and visions for the future encounter local epistemologies and practices. In this panel, we also aim to interrogate violence, extraction and state consolidation nexus linking to local and extra-local political and economic dynamics. The panel welcomes theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions on resource sovereignty, violence at the margins of the state, political economy of extraction, political ecology of nature conservation, mega-development schemes, displacement and resource dispossession, social-environmental justice, environmental conflict, and other related topics.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -