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Session Overview
5-HP059: Solidarity for Investment-Induced Displacement and Resettlement
Wednesday, 07/July/2021:
11:00am - 12:15pm

Session Chair: Dr. Kei Otsuki, Utrecht University, Netherlands, The
Session Chair: Dr. Griet Steel, Utrecht University, Netherlands, The

Session Abstract

In this panel, we aim to address what solidarity actually means in often contested land-based investments that induce displacement and resettlement in rural and urban areas. We are particularly interested in papers that analyze cases in which various actors’ roles and chains of effects unfold in processes of displacement and resettlement in the global south. We will be also interested in discussing methodological issues pertaining to our responsibilities of doing research on this issue.

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The Discounted Need for Solidarity against Sustainability-driven Displacement and Resettlement in Africa

Emilinah Namaganda

Utrecht University, Netherlands, The

Global solidarity to address the impacts of climate change has been pervasive since the 1970s. The most notable efforts recently are the September 2019 climate strikes; the largest in world history, which involved approximately 6 million people across 4,500 locations in 150 countries demanding for action against anthropogenic climate change. Although the adaptation and mitigation efforts are still insubstantial, global concern over the impacts of a changing climate has prompted countries to search for cleaner alternatives to the traditional high greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting technologies, particularly in the industrial and transport sectors. This has inadvertently attracted increased interest in so-called ‘green minerals’ such as Rare Earth Elements and metals such as graphite which play a significant role in the construction of lower GHG gas emitting technologies.

In Africa which possesses significant but under-exploited deposits of critical and rare minerals, increased demand for ‘green minerals’ has instigated an expansion of the mining frontier in various parts of the continent. While potentially beneficial economically, the expansion of the mining frontier in Africa is paralleled by a host of socio-economic problems, none more serious than population displacement and resettlement. In Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique, extraction of natural gas which is considered by proponents as a bridge-fuel to a low GHG economy and graphite which is essential for the powering of Electric Vehicles, have led to the displacement of thousands of people with little or no compensation, posing risks of impoverishment to the affected populations. However, in contrast to the global solidarity for meaningful action to address climate change manifest through numerous marches and protests, solidarity with the populations negatively affected by the actions emanating from the global ambitions for sustainability has been imperceptible.

This paper traces the value chain of the ‘green minerals’ exploitation. It interrogates; the drivers of their exploitation, their processes of extraction and consumption, and their associated socio-economic and environmental impacts along the value chain. It also characterizes the actors involved and their cognate roles at the various levels of the chain. The paper reveals a mismatch between global solidarity for action to address climate change, and solidarity for the negative consequences of the actions subservient to the global ambitions for sustainability, such as forced population displacement to allow for the mining of ‘green minerals’. This paper foregrounds the discounted need for a more holistic structure of climate justice which not only advocates for solidarity during calls to take meaningful action against climate change, but that also seeks for justice during the actions employed to tackle climate change and promote global sustainability.

From Basin to Upland: Exploring Socio-cultural Effects of the Bui Dam Resettlement in Ghana through Community-based Participatory Filmmaking

David Tei-Mensah Adjartey

University of Ghana, Legon

Beginning from the mid-twentieth century, development projects causing displacement and forced resettlement have disrupted lives and the social world (environments) of those considered to be in the way of progresson large scale. This social phenomenon is widespread. A recent prediction shows that 200 million people will be displaced in this decade (20 million yearly) by large scale human engineering projects. Anthropologists working in this area have tried to contributes to the resettlement discourse by developing frames of reference for the studying and practising forced resettlement. Yet there is dearth of information exploring the historical and political conditions that influence the life of resettlers at the local level. In Ghana, the planning and development of the Bui Dam project by the Ghanaian Government required resettlement of three communities that had lived in the flood basin. This paper examines how resettlement process has influenced socio-cultural change in the resettlement township. Using the concepts of “routine and dissonant culture” and the global connection, I will explore the local indigenous behaviour, disputes over water resources, and changing family relationships within the Bui resettlement township in west central Ghana. I will draw my data from participatory ethnographic filmmaking research I conducted with resettlers on their everyday culture practices and heritage resources from 2009 to 2013 and for my PhD studies in 2016. I will also talk about the ways in which this longitudinal research has helped in understanding the initiatives and actions of resettlers in redefining livelihood and local indigenous religious traditions, and renegotiating social relations, as adaptation strategies. The findings show that while there has been an increase in ritual performances, the resettlers are unable to reproduce daily fishing practices during turbulent times. This provides insights into the importance of how participatory ethnographic film produced with resettlers expands our understanding of the lived experiences of Development Forced Displacement and Resettlement (DFDR).

The Temporalities of Dislocation and Solidarity for Sustainable Resettlements in Mozambique

N. Wiegink1, Kei Otsuki2

1Department of Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Utrecht University; 2Department of Human Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

The paper aims to problematize the current approaches to the analysis of development of and engagement with people displaced due to conflicts, infrastructure development, and other economic activities and disasters. In many cases, displaced people are clustered and relocated in new forms of settlements in both rural and urban areas. These new settlements profoundly transform landscapes and people’s socioeconomic conditions. While much attention has been paid to adequate compensation and livelihood restoration in the planning for and immediate aftermath of resettlement, the protracted processes toward sustainable place-making have attracted little scholarly and policy attention. How do actors involved in resettlement, such as governments, investors, affected populations, civil society organizations, and academics, understand this process in terms of temporality? When does their commitment start and when and how does it end? When is resettlement considered to be “over”? And what do sustainable development and solidarity mean in such a context? Using primary research experience in resettlement projects created due to extractivist displacement (Tete) and conservation displacement (Gaza) in Mozambique, the paper outlines what temporalities of dislocation and solidarity mean, and open discussions for other cases to find different patterns of engagement and transformations.

Governing Urban Resettlement: New Political Frameworks And Everyday Life In Lome

Spire Amandine1, Francesca Pilo2

1University of Paris, France; 2Utrecht University, Netherlands

This presentation is based on the study of a pilot resettlement program in Lomé, capital of Togo, that embodies a new approach to urban renewal in this small West African country. Instead of a traditional approach to resettlement based on the violent physical eviction of city dwellers from so-called strategic areas for urban modernisation, this program entailed a displaced-resettlement process centred on negotiations between city dwellers and the state regarding forms of compensation and ‘soft constraints’. These included the delivery of a plot of land on the outskirts of Lomé with water and electricity connections on which city dwellers could build new houses, as well as financial compensation for resettlement. We argue that governmentality is visible in this resettlement process and functions through the reordering of urban space and the reshaping of power relations not only through domination, but also through the promotion of self-control, discipline and responsibility. This presentations aims at contributing to wider debates on the governing of everyday life and its political dimensions.

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