The Lives of Extraction

Identities, Communities and the Politics of Place


The frontiers of extraction are expanding rapidly, driven by a growing demand for minerals and metals that is often motivated by sustainability considerations. Two volumes of International Development Policy are dedicated to the paradoxes and futures of green extractivism, with analyses of experiences from five continents. In this, the first of these two volumes, 16 authors offer a critical and nuanced understanding of the social, cultural and political dimensions of extraction. The experiences of communities, indigenous peoples and workers in extractive contexts are deeply shaped by narratives, imaginaries and the complexity of social contexts. These dimensions are crucial to making extraction possible and to sustaining its expansion, but also to identifying possibilities for resistance, and to paving the way for alternative, post-extractive economies.

This volume is accompanied by IDP 16, The Afterlives of Extraction: Alternatives and Sustainable Futures.
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Filipe Calvão is an economic and environmental anthropologist. He is an associate professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute. His research examines the politics, ecologies and economies of mineral extraction, with a current focus on the nexus between digitalization, work and extractivism.

Matthew Archer studies corporate sustainability, sustainable finance and sustainable development through the lens of political ecology and environmental anthropology. He is currently a lecturer in sustainability in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York.

Asanda Benya is a labour sociologist based at the University of Cape Town. She works at the intersection of gender, class and race. She researches the extractives industries, gendered workplace subjectivities, labour and feminist movements.

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction: Global Lives of Extraction
  Filipe Calvão, Matthew Archer and Asanda Benya

Part 1
Community, Labout and Social Life
2 Migrants and the Politics of Presence on the South African Platinum Mining Belt
  Melusi Nkomo

3 Chromite Mining Cooperatives, Tribute Mining Contracts, and Rural Livelihoods in Zimbabwe, 1985–2021
  Joseph Mujere

4 ‘Le fléau de la soude caustique’: Bauxite Refining, Social Reproduction, and the Role of Women’s Promotion Groups
  Luisa Lupo

5 Time for an Outcome Evaluation? The Experience of Indigenous Communities with Mining Benefit Sharing Agreements
  Liz Wall and Fiona Haslam McKenzie

Part 2
Scales of Space and Time
6 Struggles over Resource Decentralisation: Legislative Reform, Corporate Resistance and Canadian Aid Partnerships in Burkina Faso
  Diana Ayeh

7 The Promise of Gold: Gold and Governance in China’s Borderlands, Then and Now
  Eveline Bingaman

8 Spaces of Extraction in Europe: the Corporate–State–Mining Complex and Resistance in Greece and Romania
  Konstantinos (Kostas) Petrakos

9 Muddled Times: Temporality and Gold Mining in Colombia and Venezuela
  Jesse Jonkman and Eva van Roekel

Part 3
Extractive Frontiers: Narratives and Discourses
10 Exploration, Storytelling and Frontier-Making in the Colombian Andes
  Anneloes Hoff

11 (Im)mobility Economies: Extractivism of the Refugee as a Human Commodity
  Julia C. Morris

12 Anti-extractive Rumouring in the Russian North-East
  Sardana Nikolaeva


Academic scholars and researchers, policymakers and development practitioners interested in international development policy, extraction, enterprises and their effects on development, economic and political trends, and local development issues.
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