Article. Heterogeneity and labour agency

Together with Divin-Luc Bikubanya I published “Heterogeneity and Labour Agency in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo” in Development and Change (online first).

Abstract: This article considers the broad question of how to improve the conditions of workers in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM), which relies on predominantly informal activities. While acknowledging that formalization can provide ASGM miners with tenure security and protection of labour rights, it is important to highlight that not all workers are likely to benefit from formalization in the same way, and that decent work ambitions should extend to all workers, regardless of whether or not they are formalized. It is therefore crucial to understand the heterogeneity in the ASGM workforce. This article describes working conditions for different categories of workers based on a survey carried out in the Watsa and Shabunda territories in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It analyses labour agency and shows that workers are diversely integrated in the labour process and may use power resources in various ways. The discussion reflects on ways to consider the heterogeneity in ASGM labour and to push the ASGM agenda beyond formalization.

Geenen and Bikubanya 2024_Development & Change