P077
(Infra)structures of Extraction in Africa

Convenors:
Rita Kesselring (University of Basel)
Alexander Caramento (Trent University)
Stream:
Panels
Location:
KH209
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The panel looks at the (infra)structures of extraction in Africa and their consequences on local life-words. We have a particular interest in the effects of recent changes in international capital on local infrastructures.

Long abstract:

While the primary impetus for mining companies is the extraction of natural resources, they still need a certain level of infrastructure to conduct their business profitably. On the one hand, they rely on what the host country offers them, for instance labour, transport infrastructure, and a more or less favourable tax system. On the other hand, companies are forced to put up new structures to run operations as smoothly as possible, such as housing, roads, logistical networks, electricity grids, pipelines, and to display some modicum of "corporate citizenship." While such new (infra)structures serve extractive capitalism, they simultaneously change society in unexpected ways. The panel looks at the (infra)structures of extraction in Africa and their consequences by bringing together the notions of extractivism and infrastructure (broadly defined). We invite papers which empirically explore the intricacies of extraction from the perspective of those who will be living in the countries of extraction beyond the lifespan of a mine. We are particularly interested in papers that explore the effects of changes in international capital on local infrastructures - such as the differences between state and private companies, the role of shareholder capitalism and the financialization of commodity trading. It is our intention to arrive at a better understanding of the ways in which infrastructure relates to the complex structures of accumulation, exchange and consumption that constitute the various systems of extraction on the African continent. To do so, the panel combines perspectives from political economy with anthropological approaches to the study of (infra)structures.