Gold Mining and Subsistence in the Chocó, Colombia
- PUBLISHED: July 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 250 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 16 b&w illus., 2 charts, 2 maps
- SERIES: Culture, Place, and Nature
- ISBN: 9780295747538
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.
Authors & Contributors
Daniel Tubb is associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton.
An important, accessible, beautifully written book. . . . Tubb looks at the highly significant issue of extraction from multiple angles and places it in thinkable economic, social, and cultural contexts.- Marjo de Theije, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Through the prism of the miners, their families, and their communities, Tubb provides a nuanced, complex analysis of the concept of rebusque.- María Clemencia Ramírez, author of Between the Guerrillas and the State: The Cocalero Movement, Citizenship, and Identity in the Colombian Amazon