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Brokers of crisis: the everyday uncertainty of Eastern Congo's mineral négociants


Vogel, Christoph; Musamba, Josaphat (2017). Brokers of crisis: the everyday uncertainty of Eastern Congo's mineral négociants. Journal of Modern African Studies, 55(4):567-592.

Abstract

Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) artisanal mining sector is often linked to the violent conflicts that have beset Central Africa for over two decades. While many analyses emphasise its ‘criminal’ and ‘illegal’ nature, less attention has been paid to the ambiguity of this economy, most prominently incarnated by the intermediate mineral traders called négociants. Focusing on their entrepreneurship, networks and everyday activities, this essay offers a more nuanced understanding of local mineral trade in the context of a ‘crisis economy’ framed by competing governable orders. It investigates the uncertainty along eastern DRC's mineral supply chains, that are undergoing major regulatory changes to curb the trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’. Drawing from extensive fieldwork, this essay demonstrates how this uncertainty shapes the négociants’ role as brokers of socio-economic life in the provinces of North and South Kivu.

Abstract

Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) artisanal mining sector is often linked to the violent conflicts that have beset Central Africa for over two decades. While many analyses emphasise its ‘criminal’ and ‘illegal’ nature, less attention has been paid to the ambiguity of this economy, most prominently incarnated by the intermediate mineral traders called négociants. Focusing on their entrepreneurship, networks and everyday activities, this essay offers a more nuanced understanding of local mineral trade in the context of a ‘crisis economy’ framed by competing governable orders. It investigates the uncertainty along eastern DRC's mineral supply chains, that are undergoing major regulatory changes to curb the trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’. Drawing from extensive fieldwork, this essay demonstrates how this uncertainty shapes the négociants’ role as brokers of socio-economic life in the provinces of North and South Kivu.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:17 Jan 2018 19:48
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:25
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0022-278X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X1700043X

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