School of Social and Political Science

Sane Pashane Zuka

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PhD Title: Large-Scale Extractive Mining in Democratic Malawi: Discourse, Governance and Poverty Reduction

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My PhD thesis focuses on large scale extractive mining as a path to economic development in developing countries undergoing democratization. Motivated by global political economy and historical institutionalism theoretical frameworks, my study examines the different narratives, knowledge and contestations that are shaping and reshaping large scale extractive mining, especially coal and uranium, and examines its expected contribution to national economic growth and poverty reduction.

Employing a case study of Malawi, the study is premised on the fact that that large scale mining has historically been divisive and in a number of developing countries resulted in contested outcomes. In general, established institutional frameworks guiding large scale mining operations have favoured established elites at the expense of the local communities. Consequently, the objective of poverty reduction has rarely been achieved. Institutions are, however, a product of negotiaons between and among the participating actors and reflect the not only existing power and knowledge asymmetries between them, but also the existing political context. While it is true that there are established conventional hegemonies holding power, democratization has subjected established hegemonies into opportunity space for change. Thus, my study is set to respond to the following questions: What are the explicit and implicit drivers of large scale extractive mining investment in democratic Malawi? What are current narratives of mining investment in Malawi and how are these narratives responding to and being shaped by current social, economic and political contexts? How are the current drivers and narratives shaping contestations and negotiations over large scale mining among different actors in the mining sector (state, private sector, civil society and local communities), and how is the interaction between formal and informal actors reshaping these narratives? How are the different interests of actors in the mining sector negotiated and how are these negotiations defining the nature of mining policy and regulations put in place in democratic Malawi? What economic and socio-economic benefits does mining investment offer to the Government of Malawi and local communities that incentivises legitimization of mining investment in Malawi?; and lastly what theoretical insights can mining experience from Malawi contribute to the theories of large scale extractive mining in developing countries undergoing democratization?

My study is within the academic themes of global political economy, politics of energy and historical institutionalism

Research interests

Research interests

Institutional building, energy security, Global Political Economy, Land governance, Development Policy, Social capital, Historical Institutionalism, Extractive industries and resource governance, policy discourses, Global political economy