A study of women’s agency and mining-induced displacement and resettlement in Sierra Leone

Jones, Jessica (2019) A study of women’s agency and mining-induced displacement and resettlement in Sierra Leone. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Mining-induced displacement and resettlement (MIDR) is a phenomenon associated with large-scale commercial mining, and is particularly prominent in low-income countries (Owen and Kemp, 2015). The extractive industries literature tends to present rural indigenous women as homogenously vulnerable to the negative effects of mining (Lahiri-Dutt, 2015). This literature provides an extensive list of the detrimental effects of MIDR that specifically disadvantage women, including loss of natural water sources, sacred spaces and the degradation of land (Bhanumathi, 2002; Downing, 2002). Rarely considered, is how the specific and unique sociocultural context of mining-affected communities influences women’s agency, that is, the way women experience and react to MIDR and its effects.

By drawing on ethnographic data from three villages relocated for iron ore mining in the north of Sierra Leone, this thesis seeks to show how women’s agency is critical to maintaining and enabling individual and collective wellbeing after experiencing MIDR, as an example of a non-organic trigger of social change. The main findings are, first that different women perform different aspects - economic, sociocultural and political - of their agency in different ways in a post-MIDR context. Second, that resources and physical structures associated with nature embodied women’s agency pre-MIDR and MIDR initiates a critical juncture through a rapid change in access to these resources. Third, this change in resources and physical structures – informed by exogenous international and national systems - threatens women’s agency and the continuity of local economic, sociocultural and political systems. Fourth, that different women react to the effect of the change in resources and physical structures in myriad ways, including adaptation, avoidance, passive and active resistance. Women are therefore found to be agents in preserving and transforming different aspects of their agency and local systems in their efforts to maintain and enable individual and collective wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2020 13:03
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 13:03
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77777


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