15 Jan 2009 - 17 Jan 2009All dayCRASSH, 17 Mill Lane



Daniele Moretti, Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, dm457@cam.ac.uk
Mette High, Anthropology, London School of Economics, M.M.High@lse.ac.uk

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a fast growing industry that employs up to 20 million men, women, and children and provides an indirect source of livelihood for a further 100 million people across the world. Producing approximately 20% of the world’s non-fuel minerals, ASM is an important economic sector and a significant motor of trans-national migration, political conflicts, ecological change and social transformations.

Over the past three decades this largely informal sector has been a focus of concern for national governments, development agencies, NGOs, and the academia. For the most part, however, attention has focused on narrow technical and definitional issues. It is only recently that ASM has come to be investigated as a broader historical, cultural, and political phenomenon. This conference aims to contribute to the analytical turn by bringing together international scholars from several branches of the social sciences with direct experience of ASM in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Central and South America to pursue two related objectives:

The first objective of the conference is to investigate what a “generational perspective” may reveal about why people take up ASM, how and why they continue such practices, and how intergenerational relations are shaped by and shape participation in this extractive sector.

The conference theme of ‘mining across generations’ also points to a broader historical approach to ASM. This form of mining dates back millennia and has been carried out all over the world under diverse political and economic regimes. While many locales experienced only one historical phase of mining, whether short-lived or protracted, others hosted recursive or even uninterrupted extractive activities stretching back decades or centuries. Our second objective is therefore to investigate changes and continuities in ASM practices across different historical contexts and the long-term effects that these practices engendered in specific regions.

Themes to be addressed in the conference include: the relationship between political power, corporate mining, and ASM under different historical conditions; local expectations of ‘development’ and ‘modernity’, experiences of enhanced opportunities and inequalities, and discourses of decline and loss; the transmission of ritual knowledge, skills, land rights, and capital within and across generations; the connections between child labour, child socialisation, and parental and filial obligations; the association between intergenerational relations and gender roles; the link between ASM, changing ideas about wealth, and the authority of parents and elders; and the connections between mining and marriage, birth, and funerary practices.


Useful links:


Communities and Small-Scale Mining (CASM): http://www.artisanalmining.org/
Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Asia-Pacific: http://www.asmasiapacific.org/



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