Over-spilling institutions: the political ecology of ‘greening’ the small-scale gold mining sector in Guyana

Hook, Andrew (2019) Over-spilling institutions: the political ecology of ‘greening’ the small-scale gold mining sector in Guyana. Land Use Policy, 85. pp. 438-452. ISSN 0264-8377

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Abstract

This article applies a political ecology framework to examine the challenges of ‘greening’ Guyana’s relatively established small-scale gold mining sector. Based on a year of fieldwork conducted in Guyana’s gold mining landscape, the article highlights a range of ways in which the supposed stability and transparency of Guyana’s institutional mining framework is undermined by the dynamic and discretionary realities of actual small-scale gold mining activity. The tendency of mining activity to overspill institutional boundaries is contributing to worsening ecological conditions in the country’s interior. For miners, it is shown that, even having acquired or accessed formal property, they face various challenges (such as minimal state support, stressed conditions of production, and tenure insecurity) that compromise their ability to enact ‘green’ mining. The state meanwhile faces related challenges in ensuring that dynamic and fluid mining activity remains within its legal and literal boundaries. Overall, the article illustrates how the mainstream green mining ‘storyline’ – based on the notion of formal institutions as a disciplining or containing force – is disrupted by an intimate interaction among unruly socio-ecological realities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Small-scale gold mining, ‘Green’ policies, Institutions, Political ecology, Guyana
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE170 Environmental policy
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE300 Environmental management
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0079 Special topics, A-Z > HC0079.E5 Environmental policy and economic development. Sustainable development Including environmental economics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0094 America > HC0121 Latin America
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Depositing User: Andrew Hook
Date Deposited: 30 May 2019 13:22
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 13:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84036

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