The value of pastoralism and mining: Balancing futures in Karamoja, Uganda

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Karamoja region has recently become the new mining hub in Uganda, and the discourse on the mining is resounding some of the typical features of a resource curse. This article seeks to nuance the discourse by looking at the active engagement and assessment made by Karimojong people directly involved in the mining. The article applies a theoretical framework where land is about relations, and values are about actions and not objects. Actions and relations that can be perceived as sharing, stealing and borrowing simultaneously depending on whether the intentions behind are viewed as benign or malign. People are assessing the benefits of the mining in order to actively position themselves to have a prosperous future. Currently, mining is seen as a here-and-now opportunity to earn money, so the key issue is how it affects sustainability in future. Firstly, it is vital that it does not disturb the pastoral lifestyle, which is seen as the most sustainable lifestyle option. Hence, there must be a balance between mining and pastoralism. Secondly, that people engage mining in a way that does not led them into degenerate actions, but rather into actions that are invested in a sustainable future for the Karimojong communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)539 - 547
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Future
  • Mining
  • Pastoralism
  • Uganda
  • Values


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