Shifting Livelihoods

by Daniel Tubb (Author)
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People employ various methods to extract gold in the rainforests of the Chocó, in northwest Colombia: Rural Afro-Colombian artisanal miners work hillsides with hand tools or dredge mud from river bottoms. Migrant miners level the landscape with excavators, then trap gold with mercury. Canadian mining companies prospect for open-pit mega-mines. Drug traffickers launder cocaine profits by smuggling gold into Colombia and claiming it came from fictitious small-scale mines.

Through an ethnography of gold that examines the movement of people, commodities, and capital, Shifting Livelihoods investigates how resource extraction reshapes a place. In the Chocó, gold enables forms of “shift” (rebusque)—a metaphor for the fluid livelihood strategy adopted by forest dwellers and migrant gold miners alike as they seek informal work amid a drug war. Mining’s effects on rural people, corporations, and politics are on view in this fine-grained account of daily life in a regional economy dominated by gold and cocaine.

Contributors
K. Sivaramakrishnan (Introduction author), K. Sivaramakrishnan (Other contributor)
Publication date
July 05, 2020
Publisher
Collection
Page count
264
ISBN
9780295747545
Paper ISBN
9780295747521
File size
40 MB