Money, Migration, and Masculinity among Artisanal Miners in Katanga (DR Congo)

Citation:

Cuvelier, Jeroen. 2017. “Money, Migration, and Masculinity among Artisanal Miners in Katanga (DR Congo).” Review of African Political Economy 44 (152): 204–19. doi:10.1080/03056244.2016.1172061.

Author: Jeroen Cuvelier

Abstract:

The Katangese artisanal mining sector has grown spectacularly since the late 1990s. Faced with political instability and economic crisis, tens of thousands of men have moved to the mining areas in order to find new sources of income. This article offers a detailed ethnographic description of how male migrant workers experience and cope with the challenging realities of life on the mines against the backdrop of recent changes in Katanga’s political economy. More specifically, it examines the relationship between money, migration and masculinity through an extended case study of a money dispute among a group of artisanal miners working in the Kalabi mine near Lwambo, a small town situated 20 kilometres north of Likasi. It is found that the conspicuous consumption of money plays a vital role in the mining subculture; that credit and debt dominate life on the mines; and that artisanal mining has given rise to significant changes in gender relations and household organisation.

Keywords: artisanal and small-scale mining, gender, Democratic Republic of Congo, informal economy, subculture, monetary practices, extended case method

Topics: Migration, Extractive Industries, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Political Economies Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2017

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