Mali

S1-B: »Landed Markets«: Commodification, Mobilization and Deterritorialization of Land in the Context of Asian Investment in African Land Markets

Übersicht: 

The growing worldwide demand for land has turned numerous African rural regions into a much-sought after commodity for global investments. The multi-methodological and plurilocal project S1-B »Landed Markets« addresses this process from a broad set of different angles ranging from disputed privatizations of collective land titles and the socio-technical establishment of formalized land markets to the rationales and strategies of Asian enterprises investing in African land:

  • Constructed Markets: How does the media produce and negotiate „FDI in Land / Land grabbing”? How do the discourses and normative legitimizations differ across national spaces in Africa, Asia and Europe?
  • Mobilizing Markets: How is land made mobile and transnational? What socio-technical investments see to it that land circulates between Asia and Africa?
  • Negotiating Markets: How do African and Asian actors negotiate land deals (social and political participation, rationales and legitimations, evaluation and pricing, bargaining power)?

On the African side the project will realize comparative studies in Benin, Cameroun and Madagascar. In those countries there are, among others, Malayan, Indian, Chinese, South-Korean and Japanese actors involved in the process of land acquisition for a variety of different reasons (food products, animal feed, industrial crops and energy crops). Is this dynamic opening up new spaces for South-South cooperation and postcolonial development trajectories or does it rather stabilize neo-colonial structures of dependency? In addition to their presence in Africa the role of Asian investors is also analyzed through case studies in Asia, especially the often neglected example Japan.

Research methods include discourse analysis, the participant observation, qualitative interviews and critical cartography. These cartographic techniques are used to visualize subjective perceptions of land and resources by the different groups involved in land deals in order to identify potential lines of conflict. At the same time, “official cartographic representations” of national and international organizations, of investment corporations are being analyzed to de- and reconstruct the socio-technological production and techno-political definition of the quality, availability and use of resources.


Kontakt: 

Ort: 

Involvierte AFRASO Mitglieder: 

AFRASO Publications

Kersting, Philippe ; 2013 ; Sino-afrikanische Beziehungen im Agrarbereich. Gibt es ein chinesisches land grabbing in Afrika? ; Chinas Expansion in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern (Veröffentlichungen des Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Dritte Welt) ; Meyer, G., Muno, W. & Brand, A. ; Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreis Dritte Welt
Kersting, P. & Hoffmann, K. W. ; 2013 ; Landgeschäfte zwischen Chance (land investment) und Risiko (land grabbing) ; Geographie und Schule ; 201, 35 ; 11-20
Kersting, Philippe ; 2013 ; La Chine est-elle un acteur majeur de l’accaparement des terres en Afrique?Passerelles ; Passerelles ; ICTSD ; Volume 14, Numéro 4 ; http://ictsd.org/downloads/passerelles/passerelles14-4.pdf
Berndt, Christian & Marc Boeckler ; 2016 ; Behave, global south! Economics, experiments, evidence. ; Geoforum ; 70 ; 22–26

Talks and Lectures

Marc Boeckler ; What's in a Region? ; Friday, June 7, 2013 ; Bayreuth
Kersting, Philippe ; Marginal Lands als strategisches (Un)Sichtbarmachen von Ressourcen ; Saturday, June 29, 2013 ; Frankfurt a.M.
Kersting, Philippe ; Lang Grabbing in Westafrika - Ein Beitrag zur Nahrungsmittelsicherheit? ; Friday, October 4, 2013 ; Passau
Kersting, Philippe ; Land Grabbing in Afrika - Ein Kontinent wird neu verteilt ; Monday, November 4, 2013 ; Passau
Kersting, Philippe ; Afrikanisches Land - Eine asiatische Option? ; Tuesday, June 4, 2013 ; Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

S2-A: Trade Networks and Migration Between Africa and Asia

Übersicht: 

While the activities of Africans in Asia are often overlooked; Asian – especially Chinese – engagement in Africa has become a focal point of interest in Western public discourse. This project explores the differences between the organization of African and Asian networks. It investigates the types of networks (from family to international enterprises), the sectors of trade and mutual impacts of different cultural practices on interactions and decisions. The focus on cultural and economic repercussion of trade, as it is perceived from the local actors’ point of view, allows to study the organization of trade networks, the development of entrepreneurial strategies, as well as the establishment of migrant trader communities.

The project’s focus on anthropological methodology and epistemological interest is the basis for the comparison within the project, even though the conditions in the research countries differ.

The key research questions of the project are as follows: What kind of trade do African and Asian states support? What are the ideological and historical themes that characterize the policies of these countries? What can be found out about the experiences of migration that Africans and Asians encounters in the respective foreign cultural context? Do these experiences differ from those made migrants in Europe? To which extent have these processes modified trade and contributed to the formation of new networks? What kind of discourses have been developed about the activities of Asians in Africa and vice versa? How do Africans evaluate the infrastructural development and the provision of goods in contrast to the increasing presence of strangers? How is competition for African enterprises created and whose cultural difference is often interpreted negatively? Do these evaluations have an impact on the trade networks? How is trade organized on the level of personal interaction?

One major research focus of the project lies on trade goods in order to find answers to these questions mentioned above. Following particular items like tea not only enables the project to understand supply chains from Chinese producers over traders in import and export to the market mechanisms in West African countries like Mali. This approach also reveals insight in the long history of trade and transformation of Green Tea from a mere product to a cultural practice, which is deeply rooted in Malian society today and becomes increasingly prominent in adjacent countries. A case study in Thailand among Malians, who trade with precious stones, revealed that Africans establish networks in Asia through modifying and adapting successful models that were developed in an African context. These activities give a clear idea about “African agency” in trade. Furthermore, they reverse simplistic notions of Africa only being the receiver of processed goods and exporting raw material.

Another focus of research are the activities of Chinese traders in South Africa. Thousands of Chinese traders arrived in the last 25 years from mainland China. While first-comers benefitted from the high demand in low-priced consumer goods; market saturation and macro-economic tendencies influence and transform the Chinese trader communities nowadays. Traders who have developed a sense for the demands in South Africa, found niches or were able to diversify their businesses, do have an advantage. These activities go often hand in hand with development of social, cultural and political ties in the host countries, where a relatively stable community of Chinese does already exist or is in the making. In all cases, the research showed that successful trade often depends on highly skilled brokers, not only in the economic arena, but also as cultural intermediaries. Researching interpersonal relationships allows to paint a profoundly more complex picture than mere generalizations of Asian/African dependencies, which this project aims to do.

Research is carried out in West Africa (Cameroon, Mali) and in South Africa as well as in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, and China. The broad regional choice provides opportunities for the comparison of historically and culturally divergent regions.

The research is conducted by the following team of scholars:

Ute Röschenthaler researches in close cooperation with Antoine Socpa Cameroonian and Malaysian trade networks, in cooperation with Birama Diakon the network of Malian and Chinese traders in Mali and China, and with Shigehiro Sasaki African trade networks in Japan. Mamadou Diawara explores Malian migrants in Indonesia and returnees in Bamako. Matthias Gruber researches Chinese/South African trade networks in South Africa.


Kontakt: 

Ort: 

Involvierte AFRASO Mitglieder: 

AFRASO Publications

Röschenthaler, Ute and Dorothea Schulz ; 2016 ; Cultural Entrepreneurship in Africa ; Oxon / New York: Routledge

Talks and Lectures

Röschenthaler, Ute & Julia Binter ; Trade, crisis and cultural entrepreneurship in the Niger Delta and the Cross River Region ; Saturday, October 3, 2015 ; Marburg
Diawara, Mamadou ; The Time-Tested Traditionist: Intellectual Trajectory and Mediation from the Early Empires to the Present Day. Landscapes, Sources and Intellectual Projects: Politics, History and the West African Past ; Thursday, November 12, 2015 to Saturday, November 14, 2015 ; Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) and Centre of West African Studies (CWAS), University of Birmingham
Ute Röschenthaler ; The History of Green Tea in Mali and Beyond ; Thursday, May 15, 2014 ; Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Ute Röschenthaler ; The History of Green Tea in Africa ; Thursday, December 18, 2014 ; Bejing University
Diawara, Mamadou ; The Call of the ‘Bush’: Malian Migrants on their Way to Asia ; Wednesday, March 12, 2014 ; Kuala Lumpur
Diawara, Mamadou ; Seeing like scholars. Whose exile? Making a life in being at home and abroad ; Wednesday, March 25, 2015 ; Kapstadt
Ute Röschenthaler ; Commercial Networks and Cultural Brokers: Cameroonian Traders in China ; Wednesday, March 12, 2014 ; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Diawara, Mamadou ; China und Afrika, SoSe 2013 ; Goethe University Frankfurt
Röschenthaler, Ute; Haugen, Heide & Michaela Pelican ; Challenges to African entrepreneurship in Malaysia ; Thursday, July 9, 2015 ; Sorbonne, Paris
Ute Röschenthaler ; Brokers as Intermediaries in Commercial Trade Networks ; Sunday, December 14, 2014 ; Jinan University, Guangzhou
Röschenthaler, Ute ; Bewegung von Menschen und Gütern im globalen Kontext ; Wednesday, July 1, 2015 ; Hannover
Diawara, Mamadou ; Bangkok as a "Bush". Preliminary findings on African migrants facing Asia ; Tuesday, April 1, 2014 ; Thammasat University
Diawara, Mamadou ; Asien in Afrika, WiSe 2014/15
Diawara, Mamadou ; Asia as Horizon and Home for West Africans from the 1980s ; Saturday, August 8, 2015 ; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study
Diawara, Mamadou ; (Dis-)connections in Histories of African Studies on the Continent and Beyond, ; Friday, July 10, 2015 ; Sorbonne, Paris

S2-F: Chinese Medicine in Africa

Übersicht: 

By now there are more than 16.000 Chinese medical doctors in Mali, which are an integral part of the Malian health care system since the 1960s. In contrast to their counterparts from France and Russia the Chinese learned Bambara and were able to communicate with their Malian patients and colleagues. The research project is particularly interested in the interaction between the Chinese medical doctors and the Malian health personal (nurses, and administrative staff). Do the Doctors only rely on skills and technologies imported from their home country (both traditional Chinese and western medicine) or did they also acquire local medical knowledge? Where and when are they practicing traditional Chinese medicine and in which cases are they relying on western medicine?

In the past health care in Mali was state-owned, but since the late 1980s it is increasingly privatised. Chinese doctors and healers play a crucial part in this process. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is popularized by ambulant specialist, providing their services on the streets. This is raising questions about (who these people are,) about their professional and cultural background and of the background of the clients.

In contemporary South Africa Chinese medicine is not only practised within the Chinese community. It is also accepted as an alternative medicine among the urban middle class. In addition, Chinese medicine shows certain parallels to the praxis of African herbal doctors and “traditional” healers. But the level where medical traditions come together is completely different: Pharmaceutical companies from South Africa, the West and Asia try to systematize, analyze and capitalize the knowledge about local drugs. In this regard we are particularly interested in the cooperation of Chinese and South African companies.

Two areas will be researched with anthropological methods:

  1. Doctors, healers and patients: which specialist is consulted under which circumstances? Where are the boundaries and where are overlaps? Is there a change in the perception of Chinese (medical) influence? Which elements of Chinese medicine find their way into the traditional African medicine and how?
  2. Chinese pharmacist are actively bioprospecting in South Africa? We are interested in the different modes of cooperation between Africans and Asians and the structures used by the companies and their representatives?

We expect similarities and differences in our results from Mali and South Africa. The findings will give us insights into the patterns of Chinese engagement and the historical and cultural frame of the Asian influence in Africa.

Kontakt: 

Ort: 

Involvierte AFRASO Mitglieder: 

AFRASO Publications

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Talks and Lectures

Diawara, Mamadou ; The Time-Tested Traditionist: Intellectual Trajectory and Mediation from the Early Empires to the Present Day. Landscapes, Sources and Intellectual Projects: Politics, History and the West African Past ; Thursday, November 12, 2015 to Saturday, November 14, 2015 ; Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) and Centre of West African Studies (CWAS), University of Birmingham
Diawara, Mamadou ; The Call of the ‘Bush’: Malian Migrants on their Way to Asia ; Wednesday, March 12, 2014 ; Kuala Lumpur
Diawara, Mamadou ; Seeing like scholars. Whose exile? Making a life in being at home and abroad ; Wednesday, March 25, 2015 ; Kapstadt
Gruber, Matthias ; Mobilität als Lebensentwurf – Migration und Integration asiatischer Handler in Südafrika ; Friday, March 6, 2015 ; Goethe University, Frankfurt
Gruber, Matthias ; It’s not all about the money: Life-worlds of Chinese Traders in South Africa ; Tuesday, March 11, 2014 ; Kuala Lumpur
Gruber, Matthias ; Brokerage in Johannesburg ; Sunday, December 14, 2014 ; Guangzhou
Gruber, Matthias ; Beyond business. An incomplete portrait of a Chinese businesswoman in Johannesburg. ; Friday, May 16, 2014 to Thursday, March 31, 2016 ; Frankfurt a. M.
Gruber, Matthias ; Between Africa and China: Young Chinese entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, South Africa ; Thursday, December 18, 2014 ; Peking University
Gruber, Matthias ; Being a “New Chinese” in Johannesburg ; Tuesday, March 24, 2015 ; Kapstadt
Diawara, Mamadou ; Asien in Afrika, WiSe 2014/15
Diawara, Mamadou ; Asia as Horizon and Home for West Africans from the 1980s ; Saturday, August 8, 2015 ; Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study
Diawara, Mamadou ; (Dis-)connections in Histories of African Studies on the Continent and Beyond, ; Friday, July 10, 2015 ; Sorbonne, Paris