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Migration, housing and attachment in urban gold mining settlements

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journal contribution
posted on 15.08.2018 by Katherine Gough, Paul W.K. Yankson, James Esson
Mining settlements are typically portrayed as either consisting of purpose-built housing constructed by mining companies to house their workers, or as temporary makeshift shelters built by miners working informally and inhabited by male migrants who live dangerously and develop little attachment to these places. This paper contributes to these debates on the social and material dynamics occurring in mining settlements, focussing on those with urban rather than rural characteristics, by highlighting how misconceived these archetypal portrayals are in the Ghanaian context. Drawing on qualitative data collected in three mining settlements, we explore who is moving to and living in the mining towns, who is building houses, and how attachments to place develop socio-temporally. Through doing so, the paper provides original insights on the heterogenous nature of mining settlements, which are found to be home to a wide range of people engaged in diverse activities. Mining settlements and their attendant social dynamics are shown to evolve in differing ways, depending on the type of mining taking place and the length of time the mines have been in operation. Significantly, we illustrate how contrary to popular understandings of incomers to mining settlements as nomadic opportunists, migrants often aspire to build their own houses and establish a family, which promotes their attachment to these settlements and their desire to remain. These insights further scholarship on the social and material configuration of mining settlements and feed into the revival of interest in small and intermediate urban settlements.

Funding

The authors are grateful to the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC RES-167-25-0488) for their financial support of the Urban Growth and Poverty in Mining Africa (UPIMA) research programme.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Urban Studies

Volume

56

Issue

13

Pages

2670 - 2687

Citation

GOUGH, K.V., YANKSON, P.W.K. and ESSON, J., 2018. Migration, housing and attachment in urban gold mining settlements. Urban Studies, 56 (13), pp.2670-2687.

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© Urban Studies Journal Limited

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

09/08/2018

Publication date

2018-11-28

Notes

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

ISSN

0042-0980

eISSN

1360-063X

Language

en

Licence

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