American Ethnological Society
Oral Presentation Session
This paper focuses on the mobility of experts and of travelling models (Behrends et al 2014) in the resource extraction sector in Mozambique that render extractive practices socially sustainable, ethical, and transparent (Kirsch 2010). Mozambique's economy has taken an "extractive turn": the country's coal industry has boomed in the recent decade, expectations of future gas extraction are high, and the latest boom involves a rush involves for rare earth elements. Displacement and dispossession of local populations living in the surroundings of these mines are consequences of all of these extractive efforts. Consequently, this extractive boom has also resulted in the growth of Mozambique's consultancy sector focused on resettlement and environmental and social impact assessments. This paper provides an ethnographic lens into this extractive consultancy world by drawing on interviews with consultants, on observations at national conferences on resettlement and at the sites of extractive projects. It details the origins stories of consultancy firms, their project trajectories in the extractive sector, the importance of the "first" resettlement experience in the coal mining area, and the consultants' biographies including their links with politics and academia. Thereby the paper does not focus on one resource but rather studies "through" the emergence of policies, plans, and discourses in a particular national context in which mining-induced resettlement is constructed and negotiated, and increasingly understood and legitimized as a means toward sustainable development.