Mapping contention: mining property expansion, Amerindian land titling, and livelihood hybridity in Guyana’s small-scale gold mining landscape

Hook, Andrew (2019) Mapping contention: mining property expansion, Amerindian land titling, and livelihood hybridity in Guyana’s small-scale gold mining landscape. Geoforum, 106. pp. 48-67. ISSN 0016-7185

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A rapid expansion in small-scale gold mining properties over the landscape since the late-2000s has generated new social and environmental pressures for both titled and untitled Amerindian communities in Guyana. Some commentators in Guyana claim that these negative impacts are ‘governance problems’ – related to lapses in the monitoring of mining, a poor application and understanding of existing rules and rights, and delays in the Amerindian land titling process. However, using examples from two Amerindian villages in Guyana and employing extensive spatial Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, this article shows that these problems are rather rooted in deeper institutional and political biases against Amerindian notions of customary land and the ongoing privileging of mineral interests over other tenure types. The article nevertheless argues that resolving tensions between miners and Amerindian communities over land titling is being hamstrung by the perpetuation of binary framings of these claims according to which they are legitimate only when they are grounded in ‘traditional’ motivations. As a way of moving beyond this impasse, the article suggests recognizing the ‘hybridity’ of indigenous livelihoods and the legitimacy of indigenous participation in mining as necessary steps in re-framing debates on indigenous communities and mining.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Small-scale gold mining, Property rights, Indigenous communities, Conflict, Livelihood hybridity, Guyana
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography > GF101 Settlements > GF127 Rural settlements. Rural geography
H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC319 Political geography
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General) > JF0020 General. Comparative government > JF0799 Political rights. Political participation
J Political Science > JL Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.)
Depositing User: Andrew Hook
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2019 13:20
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2019 13:30

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