Accepted Paper:

(Infra)structures of extractivism, discipline and exclusion in North-western Zambia  


James Musonda (Universite de Liege)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the ways in which infrastructures of extraction can be a central device for disciplining labour in the process of extraction. The paper also explores the different ways that workers try to undermine the rules or social order created by the mining companies.

Paper long abstract:

Before the development of Lumwana, Kansanshi and Kalumbila mines, North western province was a predominantly rural, sparsely populated, area and had very little infrastructure. In order to attract skilled labour and conduct their business profitably, the two mining companies built new roads, housing, schools, hospitals etc. While the new (infra) structure serves the objectives of the new companies, it also implies a strong control over the everyday life of workers as well as restrictions on visitors. In addition, facilities such as education and health, provided by the mining companies are quite expensive for most of the workers.

This paper will explore the social order that new mining companies attempt to create in these remote rural places through infrastructure e.g. housing. How is infrastructure/space used as a device for disciplining workers and accumulating capital? How far does it contribute to social differentiation and exclusion? And in what ways do workers appropriate, change, or resist to the material, social, and legal order imposed by mining companies? This paper will take the deeply embedded nature of housing and infrastructure in the everyday life of mine workers as a lens for understanding the social consequences of mining capitalism in Central Africa.

Panel P077
(Infra)structures of Extraction in Africa