The Moral Politics of Gendered Labour in Artisanal Mining in Sierra Leone


Rutherford, Blair. 2020. “The Moral Politics of Gendered Labour in Artisanal Mining in Sierra Leone.” Development and Change 51 (3): 771–93. 


Author: Blair Rutherford


Drawing on current anthropological approaches to labour, this article examines some of the moral politics mobilized around women and artisanal mining in policy-inflected scholarship with reference to particular gold mining zones in Tonkolili district, Sierra Leone. In so doing, the article proposes that such a focus on labour not only allows one to appreciate how sentiments concerning (im)proper behaviour infuse wider policy proposals to amend social arrangements in regard to what is called ‘artisanal mining’, but it also offers insight into some of the enduring moral politics helping to constitute women as ‘family workers’ in the actual artisanal gold mining zones. The article suggests that examining the overlapping moral politics constituting women's labour practices provides a more supple understanding of the contested economic possibilities for women in this livelihood practice.

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2020

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