My (2010) PhD thesis is now available online

Me, in a more innocent time

Me, in a more innocent time

When I submitted it, there was the potential that some journals would treat copies online as having already published and

therefore not accept my proposed articles.  I thus set it to have a 5 year embargo. This passed a few weeks ago but I still can’t find it in the University of Manchester repository so, taking matters into my own hands, I’ve added it to my publications page.

You can find it here.
My thesis quite different from my current work and looks at the historical rise of copper mining in colonial Zambia. I look at the advances within the mining industry and colonial state that were required to turn a bit of remote African bush into a global centre of commodity production.

The proper abstract is:

This thesis examines the co-production of social inequality and an extractive space on the Zambian Copperbelt in the early twentieth-century. The rapidity and scale of the development of world-leading copper mines on the Copperbelt was described at the time as “one of the greatest mineral developments ever experienced” and took many observers by surprise. This thesis examines the origins of this boom. It argues that the success of mining on the Copperbelt is not only a result of the decisions and actions of miners and colonial officials in the 1930s to 1960s, but largely a result of those taken in the decades prior to this ‘heyday’. The keys to understanding this rapid transformation lie in the political and economic interventions and innovations which colonialism brought to (what was then called) Northern Rhodesia in the decades preceding the advent of large-scale mining. In this earlier period, dozens of mining and other commercial enterprises failed, but in their ruins the seeds of commercial success were sown. In this period too, many of the structures which generated and perpetuated the inequality and poverty which characterise contemporary Zambia were created. The success of extractive capitalism in Northern Rhodesia rested on changing regimes of access to and control over resources. Interventions in socio-ecological relations were a focus of British colonial rule in Northern Rhodesia and created the political and economic ‘infrastructure’ which enabled mining to take off rapidly when rich ore was subsequently discovered. This thesis explores how the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt was produced as a space for natural resource extraction in the colonial period through attention to the military, political and economic practices which produced regimes of access to, and control over, resources. These interventions were key to instantiating new capitalist relations and asserting British rule in colonial Zambia. To examine the conditions in which the Copperbelt boom was produced, this thesis draws on existing work on this transition. In drawing on this work, this research offers a political ecological critique of the development of Zambian Copperbelt. The thesis highlights the complexities of the struggle to produce both extractive capitalism and stable colonial rule and how the production of an extractive space on the Copperbelt had long-term consequences for the territory’s development.