Gnawing Away at the City: Narratives of Domestic Precarity in a Congolese Mining Town
ABSTRACT: The relationship between urbanization and mining is a precarious one; the latter often expands at the expense of the former. The incautious urban planning of a mining city in southeastern DR Congo, however, has opened up opportunities for residents with artisanal mining skills. Since the city is constructed on top of mineral deposits, the residents are able to dig ore in their own backyards to draw their subsistence. Based upon archival and ethnographic research, Geenen argues that, by self-generating the livelihoods they expected their resource-rich soil to bring forth, these artisanal diggers take advantage of the urbanized mineral deposits and write their own narrative of capitalism.