Contextualising gold: Perspectives on transnational metal production

This project focuses on transnational gold production through multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in two contexts: Harjavalta, Finland and Yantzaza, Ecuador. These sites are interconnected through transnational gold production; the Fruta del Norte gold mine is located in Yantzaza, and Harjavalta houses a large complex of companies processing copper, nickel, gold and silver. This project focuses on the effects of mineral production in both contexts, and especially on how questions related to social, environmental and economic responsibilities and rights are constructed by people and companies in different parts of the gold production chain. Drawing from perspectives in legal anthropology and linguistic anthropology, I am interested in constructions and contestations of law as a moral code, and as a tool to claim or practice ‘justice’. This study draws attention to the complexity of companies, spatial locations and normative frameworks involved in mineral production.

As a methodological approach, this project employs a total of 18 months of multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Finland and Ecuador. The study is funded by the Doctoral School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, and supervised by Prof. Reetta Toivanen and Dr. Anu Lounela from the University of Helsinki and Prof. Dirk Hanschel from the Max Planck Institute.

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