Reference : Child labour, Agency and Family dynamics: The Case of Mining in Katanga (DRC)
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Anthropology
Child labour, Agency and Family dynamics: The Case of Mining in Katanga (DRC)
Andre, Géraldine mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Institut des sciences humaines et sociales > Sociologie du développement >]
Godin, Marie [> >]
SAGE Publications
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] Child Labour in Small-Scale Mining ; Family Dynamics, Social Class ; Republic Democratic of Congo
[en] In the last three decades, the development of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector has been increasing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bringing more and more urban families into this flourishing business sector, and among them, children. At first glance, one could see children in the mining sector mainly as victims entangled in the flows of raw materials of unbridled capitalism. But this paper aims to look at the often unconceivable, and as a result neglected, social agency of children even when they are involved in stigmatized and prohibited types of child labour. To do so, it relies on the results of a socio-anthropological collective research project on children’s mining activities which was carried out in a small locality called La Ruashi in the city of Lubumbashi (Province of Katanga). The article aims to provide a more comprehensive understanding of what is often normatively only labelled as ‘child labour’ by looking at different spheres of social relations within which children are embedded.
Examining the set of social interactions that children have with their families, the broader community and their ‘peers’, several ‘family portraits’ are offered, highlighting a heterogeneity of social interpretations regarding this ‘new’ form of child work. It will be shown that for families from middle-class background, this kind of work is often socially disruptive, at the forefront of inter-generational conflict. As for families from lower classes, social changes induced by children’s mining activities are often better incorporated into the family habitus. Common social changes encountered in all families irrespective of class belonging will also be portrayed, showing the transversal societal impact these ‘new’ forms of child economic activities can provoke at a micro level.

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