Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 495369
Title Investing in Irony? Development, Improvement and Dispossession in Southern African Coal Spaces
Author(s) Büscher, Bram
Source European Journal of Development Research 27 (2015)5. - ISSN 0957-8811 - p. 727 - 744.
Department(s) Sociology of Development and Change
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) Coal - Development - Dispossession - Investment - Irony - Mozambique

The natural resource political economy in Southern Africa is booming once more. Central in these dynamics are the practices, promises and consequences of 'investment'. Investment is ubiquitous in neoliberal discourse and has long been used as a synonym for 'development' and 'improvement', though it is also rooted in and often responsible for dynamics of dispossession. This article theorizes the ironic relations between these concepts and investigates them empirically by drawing on and connecting disparate investment spaces. Focusing on the Mozambican coal boom, the article connects the practices, promises and consequences of investment in resettled rural villages in Tete and an investors' conference in a 5-star hotel in Cape Town. It argues that 'everyday-type ironies' are an important way in which tensions and contradictions of capitalist investment are expressed and rendered manageable. 'Investing in irony', however, does not necessarily enhance the stability of the accumulation process. More importantly, the article concludes, it emphasizes its unpredictability.

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