Dynamics of oppression and state failure : cases of child labour in artisanal and small-scale mines, Democratic Republic of Congo.
The thesis deals with child labour in artisanal and small scale mines in two case studies: Kalima and Kampene, Province of Maniema, Democratic Republic of Congo. The paper answers three research questions: which are the working conditions of child miners, what is their self-perception, and what are the consequences of the lack of a functioning state for child miners. A qualitative approach is used, employing multiple-methods: interviews, observation, and audio-visual material with a support role. After describing the working conditions of children in the mining sites, the thesis focuses on the analysis of the self-perception of children following Rossatto’s “Freirean Mapping of Optimism and Desire” that identified four attitudes: antagonism, fatalistic optimism, resilient optimism, and transformative optimism. Combining this theoretical model and the empirical data gathered during fieldwork, an explanation of the attitudes of children towards their situation as “oppressed group” is given. Consequently, employing Freire’s theory of oppression, it was possible to analyse the answers of child miners concerning their future. This showed that children tend to legitimize myths (their oppressors) and to conceive their future as an intangible destiny, highlighting that the majority of child miners are in a pre-conscientização phase. The last section identifies the consequences of the lack of a functioning state on child miners, namely: lack of future critical intellectuals, dehumanization, powerlessness, marginalization, and inversion of roles. The thesis concludes with some future implications for both research as well as practice.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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