P031
Mining technology: practices, knowledge and materials across and beyond the mines

Convenors:
Lorenzo D'Angelo (University of Milano-Bicocca)
Michael Bürge (University of Konstanz)
Chair:
Tilo Grätz (FU Berlin)
Discussant:
Sam Spiegel (University of Edinburgh)
Location:
M-133
Start time:
3 August, 2014 at 11:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel aims at analysing and comparing strategies, techniques, and materials employed by miners in various localities of large scale, small-scale and artisanal scale mining. It welcomes studies that zoom in into technology as the interweaving of social and material practices.

Long abstract:

Mining technology is an assemblage of knowledge, tools, and skills elaborated in and taken from different contexts. Locally, it is innovatively translated and adapted to and by specific social, economic and political circumstances. Consequently, it is the contingent outcome of multifarious collaborations between social actors with variegated working experiences who operate in a continual dialectical tension in and with the demanding local environments. This panel aims at analysing and comparing strategies, techniques, and materials employed by miners in various localities of large scale, small-scale and artisanal scale mining. It encourages therefore contributors for synchronic and/or diachronic comparison of, but not limited to, the uses and materiality of specific tools; the employment of work skills and mineral knowledge accumulated and shared in different places and times; the historical transformations of particular techniques and modes of organizing the work in different mining regions or in different extractive contexts (e.g. gold, coltan, diamond mining).This panel promotes, however, approaches that go beyond the mere description and classification of tools, materials or mining techniques. It invites scholars to zoom in into technology as the interweaving of social and material activities that produce 'communities of practice'. Therefore the panel welcomes studies that shed light on the intimate connection between the bodily movements of the workers and their tools; between their sophisticated extractive techniques and larger historical and political processes; the ritual and the magical-religious dimension of mining as a way of acting on objects and subjects.