Analysing conflicts around small-scale gold mining in the Amazon: The contribution of a multi-temporal model

Ton Salman*, Marjo de Theije

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Conflict is small-scale gold mining's middle name. In only a very few situations do mining operations take place without some sort of conflict accompanying the activity, and often various conflicting stakeholders struggle for their interests simultaneously. Analyses of such conflicts are typically confined to unpacking the more structural or long-term dimension, the actual actions of the stakeholders or the sequence of incidents. We believe that such strategies have limitations, and in particular can often not explain how in most cases a certain equilibrium, an arrangement, a 'conflict choreography', emerges. To be able to account for such situations, we introduce a multi-temporal model for conflict analysis in small-scale gold mining. We distinguish between a protracted structural dimension, concentrating on the underlying causes, an expeditious dimension of the actual interactions and confrontations, and an intermediate dimension of the preparation or equipment of the actors, focusing on such questions as: from what backgrounds and with what aspirations do people come? And what identity, collectively and individually, did that formation produce? We argue that only by taking into account the latter dimension might we be able to better analyse the how's and why's of the low-intensity nature of mining conflicts that, at face value, should result in unrelenting hostilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number3
Early online date26 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


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