Territorialization, place and scale: negotiating citizenship in conflicts over mining
Bettina Engels (Freie Universität Berlin)
Paper short abstract:
It is analyzed how territory, place and scale intertwine when state-society relations are negotiated between state authorities and citizens in mining conflicts. The analysis refers to a case study on recent conflicts over large-scale in Burkina Faso, building on field research conducted in 2015-16.
Paper long abstract:
This paper investigates how citizenship is constructed, negotiated and contested in resource conflicts, namely in recent conflicts over the expansion of industrial mining in Burkina Faso. It does so by referring to concepts from spatial theory: territory, place and scale. Politics that regulate and facilitate large-scale mining represent state interventions that heavily impact on the spatial order and the 'built environment' (David Harvey) - first and foremost in the mining sites themselves, but do also concern the state territory in its entirety. Mining policies, in many cases, go hand in hand with territorialisation strategies applied by state actors. Local groups, in their protests against the expansion of industrial mines on 'their' territories, frequently refer to place-specific factors. Conflicts over mining are typically place-based: they occur at specific localities and are understood as struggles over culture, the locality itself, and territory. Places and territories are important points of reference for the construction of cultural identities such as ethnicity, autochthony, and nations. Industrial mining, as a sector, is characterized by centralized state power and control. However, in conflicts over mining, a multitude of actors is involved at different scales, often applying multi-scalar strategies when raising their claims. In the paper, it is analyzed how territory, place and scale intertwine when state-society relations are negotiated between state authorities and citizens in mining conflicts. The case study on recent conflicts over mining in Burkina Faso builds on field research conducted in 2015 and 2016, including more than 40 interviews, focus group discussion, and document analysis.
Everyday Citizenship: entanglements of state power, space and citizenship in contemporary Africa