Disenclaving the Planners’ Enclaves
The study of extractive and other large-scale infrastructural projects such as mines, power stations, and dams is back on the agenda in African Studies – just as such projects are back on the agenda of development institutions and international investors. Scholars often argue that such big and technically implemented projects are disconnected from their local contexts and hasten to criticize their external imposition. In this context, James Ferguson and Hannah Appel have argued for the existence of ‘exclaves’, suggesting successful disconnection and complete independence of large infrastructure projects such as mining complexes from the environment.
The panel wants to step back and ‘disenclave’ what might indeed be planned as an enclave. Looking at large-scale projects as enclave from the start might not only blind us to looking at how such projects are materially, socially, and discursively constructed as enclaves, but might also keep us from questioning investors’ and planners’ rhetoric of exceptionalism.
This panels seeks empirically rich and theoretically sound papers which examine the mundane, lived, and discursive connections between large-scale infrastructural investments in Africa and a diversity of actors. It encourages papers from a diverse number of perspectives – from material culture to political economy to ANT – to better understand the relationship between the map (broadly conceptualized), the built environment, and people’s agency in contexts of massive infrastructural change.
Time: Thursday, 28/06/2018, 11 am - 1 pm
Venue: Hörsaalgebäude, HS 16
Rita Kesselring (University of Basel, Switzerland)
Valerie Hänsch (University of Munich)
Gregor Dobler (University of Freiburg)
Antonella Angelini (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Gabriella Körling (University of Stockholm, Sweden)
Emmanuel Mushimiyimana (Leipzig University)
Rami Wadelnour (University of Bayreuth)
Porous Enclaves as Sites of Reputational Damage Management: The Case of North Mara Gold Mine
The North Mara Gold Mine is a combined open pit and underground mine located in Northeast Tanzania. Its operating company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acacia mining, has faced chronic conflicts between security forces – both private and public – and intruders at the mine site. The response, I argue, has been to develop an approach of selective porousness through the creation of micro-enclaves, particularly in correspondence of external waste rock dumping areas and temporarily unexploited areas within the mine site. While these areas are inactive in terms of profit production for the company, they become the place for resource extraction through an array of site-specific working practices by local villagers – e.g., various forms of individual and collective scavenging for gold. The company obtains this form of disentanglement by managing different degrees of tolerance to ‘intrusion’ rather than through the full enclosing of enclaves. In order to identify the dynamics of these enclaves, the paper will focus on the notion of ‘intruder’ as shaped through the daily exchanges between private and public security forces as well as on the company policies and legal documents for dealing with security issues. By strategically allowing profit-seeking practices in certain areas of the mine, enclaves are intended to curb local tensions and potential reputational damage at the international level. The idea for this paper derives from an on-site mission in August 2017, discussions with the parent and the subsidiary companies, and literature searches conducted with the International Commission of Jurists as part of a study into company-created grievance mechanisms.
‘Destination Dosso’: Spaces of Nostalgia and Material Traces of the Future in a Ville Carrefour
This paper explores the relation between connectivity, economic development, and changing meanings of urbanity and urban life in the town of Dosso in Niger. Following independence, Dosso experienced an economic boom fuelled by the implantation of state companies and the town’s geographical configuration as a hub due to its location at the intersection of two major roads, in the middle of the Cotonou-Niamey transport corridor. However, the closure of the state companies in the 1980s as a consequence of structural adjustment and liberalization policies led to a loss of traction on goods traffic, the weakening of the local economy, and deceleration of urban growth. Following an extended period of economic stagnation, recent years have seen dramatic changes as two large scale infrastructure projects – a railway and a dry port – have attracted investors – economic operators, politicians, and property developers. In the paper, I explore these transformations from a historical and contemporary perspective focusing on material traces of the future – new hotel and housing developments, warehouses, etc., that point to a more prosperous future – and spaces of nostalgia – symbolized by the now derelict and repurposed buildings of state companies that recall a time of state-led development and economic prosperity. Through comparing the history of different generations of infrastructure that have shaped the town I explore experiences of urban transformations and economic development including sentiments of nostalgia, waiting, hope, and disappointment as an entry point to investigating the political implications of experiences of boom and bust and the intermingling of nostalgia and future imaginaries.
New Standards in Extractive Industries: A Comparison Between Kilembe, Kabanga, and Musongati Mines
Multinational companies’ investment in African mining sectors has often been isolated from national and local economies. Companies have been bringing in their own experts, workers, infrastructure, and private security, exploiting mines and returning the profit abroad. The governance of mining sectors has been characterized by a lack of transparency, equity, and economic redistribution of mineral revenues. The consequence was that resource endowment could lead to the emergence of extractive enclaves. However, there now exist global, regional, and national initiatives to counterbalance such phenomena and to increase equity and transparency, such as for instance the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Based on the examples of the Kilembe copper and cobalt mine (in Uganda), the Kabanga nickel and gold mine (in Tanzania), and the Musongati nickel mine (in Burundi), the paper addresses the following question: To what extent do global and national standards work in the case of these member states of the East African Community?
Salvation Through Infrastructure: an Account of a Highway in Sudan
I would like to focus on the changing socio-economic relations resulting from large transport infrastructure projects. In particular, the presentation addresses the case of the Western Salvation Highway in Sudan. During the last two decades, the Sudanese state had also revisited the plans and normative infrastructures to establish the desired road regime – a sanitized, efficient, and effective proof of modernity. Investment in infrastructure was boosted and even though this is only a partial success in linking Sudan, it was sufficient to perpetuate a dual road regime in which unsurfaced, orphaned roads compete with strips of asphalt bringing development to the remote areas. The overall framework of the presentation departs from the claim that socio-technological orders created and enacted around objects, such as roads, are cultural constructions. Within this frame the presentation will discuss the emergence of this particular road, its users and its impact on the traditional, parallel desert road to demonstrate that despite the expansion of road-related technologies in Africa, the boom is exclusive and constrained to the few chosen milieus.