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Accepted Paper:

Seeing ”fair” gold: reflections on dilemmas of visualising socioenvironmental injustice along the mineral supply chains  
Muriel Côte (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper reflects on the politics of seeing and being seen shaping the methodology of a research project preoccupied with socioenvironmental injustices fuelling current mineral supply chains through the case of certified gold.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years increased research attention has been paid to mineral extraction dynamics. Within this research a lot of attention has been placed on socioenvironmental injustices, from the vantage point of dynamics unfolding in mineral producing contexts. This has included studies on social and environmental impacts of extraction, resistance to mining, conflicts related to access to mining land, the informality that pervades among small-scale mining communities. Yet much less research has been conducted on the dynamics in mineral importing contexts that may shed light on these injustices. The paper offers reflections on the politics of seeing and being seen which may help understand why this has been the case.

I do this reflecting on the politics shaping methodological choices of a research project studying the challenges faced by up and downstream actors in institutionalising labour and environmental standards along the certified gold supply chain. This research positioning between up and downstream worlds incurred some dilemmas in navigating a politically engaged research positionality. I reflect on how visual methods help capture this politics of seeing and being seen through three political ”moments”: accessing, representing and advising the research ”field”. I situate this reflection within a wider conversation on the global acceleration of mineral extraction, the socioenvironmental injustices that fuel it, and what politically engaged research may look like.

Panel Anth63
Visualizing mining worlds, envisioning mining futures [CRG- Resource Extraction in Africa]
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -