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Nikkie Wiegink

Nikkie Wiegink

NIAS fellow

Project title

Frontier Governance: Corporate Power, Displacement, and Coal Mines in Mozambique

Research question

What forms of governance emerge at the resource frontier and what (new) forms of citizenship and contestation does this produce?

Project description

How do transnational mining companies take over the role of the state? And what does it mean to become a “citizen of a corporation”? Corporations are among the most powerful intuitions of our time. Yet we know little of how corporations act as governing bodies. This is particularly relevant in the context of extractive projects like mining. In such instances corporations often have a degree of control over territory and people living there.

Nikkie Wiegink’s research Frontier Governance aims to study forms of governance and citizenship that emerge in the contexts of ‘extractive resource frontiers’, based on research conducted between 2016 and 2022 in the coal mining area of Tete province in Mozambique.

The book explores the discursive construction of the frontier as “empty space” and how regimes of governance change and make way for new ones. It is an ethnographic account of what frontier governance (re)produces and unsettles: institutional orders, political communities, relations to land and natural environments, and forms of citizenship and resistance.

Selected publications

  • 2022. “Surplus to Extraction: Resettlement as a ‘Make Live’ Intervention in Mozambique.” The Extractive Industries and Society, available online since 12 January 2022. With Angela Kronenburg García. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2021.101036
  • 2021. “Corporate Sovereignty: Permissive Space and Profit-Making in Southern Africa.” Anthropological Theory 22(4): 422-442. With Tessa Diphoorn. 10.1177/14634996211037124
  • 2020. Former Guerrillas in Mozambique. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press (part of book series Ethnographies of Political Violence)