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Batano Kusimwa, Godelive

Research interests :

Political Geography

Geographical Area :

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Current Project:

Political Economy of Child Labour in Cobalt Artisanal Mining Zone of Kolwezi, DRC

This project builds on previous research on child labour in artisanal and small scale mining
(Hilson, 2010; Mwami et al., 2002; Potter & Lupilya, 2016) and focuses on the situation of children in Kolwezi artisanal mining in the context of rising cobalt demand resulting from western transition toward cleaner energy system. For this endeavor, 1 mobilize the lenses of political economy of everyday life in Africa, gender and child agency. Political economy is concerned ryith the underlying social and political mechanisms and principles that sttucture systems of social organization (LeBaron et al., 2018) and the political economy of everyday life relates "to a system of adaptation and circumvention through which life, despite the odds, is lived' (Adebanwi, 2017). The objective of this project is to contribute to the academic debate on child labour in artisanal mining by analyzing the case of Kolwezi in the cobalt boom era. Moving beyond the modern slavery narratives, I mobilize the framework of thin agency and gender to account for children's gositionalities and to scrutinize the discourses of different actors involved in artisanal mining. This study contributes empirically to the debate by providing primary data from Kolwezi with a keen attention to both actors' perceptions and the life experiences of girls.


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