Luddites in the Congo? Analyzing violent responses to the expansion of industrial mining amidst militarization

Verweijen, Judith (2017) Luddites in the Congo? Analyzing violent responses to the expansion of industrial mining amidst militarization. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 21 (3-4). pp. 466-482. ISSN 1360-4813

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The expansion of industrial mining in the war-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has provoked resistance from those depending directly and indirectly on artisanal mining for their livelihood, and has been faced with violent actions from politico-military entrepreneurs. By analyzing the interplay between armed and social mobilization against industrial mining in the Fizi–Kabambare region, this paper sheds new light on the relations between industrial mining, resistance and militarization. It argues that the presence and practices of industrial mining companies reinforce the overall power position of politico-military entrepreneurs. This occurs both directly, by efforts to co-opt them, and indirectly, by fueling dynamics of conflict, insecurity and protection that crucially underpin these entrepreneurs’ dominance. At the same time, due to the eastern Congo’s convoluted political opportunity structure for contentious action, politico-military entrepreneurs enlarge the scope for social mobilization against industrial mining. They offer a potential counterweight to repressive authorities and provide collective action frames that inspire contentious politics. Yet they also harness popular resistance for personal or particularistic purposes, while extorting the very people they claim to defend. These complexities reflect the ambiguous nature and versatility of both armed and social mobilization in the eastern Congo, which transcend socially constructed boundaries like the rural/urban, state/non-state and military/civilian divides.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Judith Verweijen
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 08:29
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 09:15

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