The Project

The
Puzzle

Extractivism characterizes the economic and social reality of many countries and societies in the Global South. Extractivism refers to a development model which relies on the extraction and the export of non-renewable raw materials and natural resources rendering entire societies dependent on revenues from raw materials. However, these revenues are not based on innovation, investment, diversification, productive labor and learning, but on the exploitation of nature. The revenues from extractivism are not distributed on the basis of collective and individual merit, but depend primarily on political mechanisms of distribution and access that individuals or groups gain to these mechanisms. In addition, extractivism is usually characterized by a high degree of external dependence: If export prices for raw materials change (as is currently the case during the Corona crisis), this generates instabilities and drives (international) crises. The central research question of the collaborative research project is:

Under which conditions do crises within the natural resource driven development model contribute to, accelerate or eventually deny social change?

The
Puzzle

Extractivism characterizes the economic and social reality of many countries and societies in the Global South. Extractivism refers to a development model which relies on the extraction and the export of non-renewable raw materials and natural resources rendering entire societies dependent on revenues from raw materials. However, these revenues are not based on innovation, investment, diversification, productive labor and learning, but on the exploitation of nature. The revenues from extractivism are not distributed on the basis of collective and individual merit, but depend primarily on political mechanisms of distribution and access that individuals or groups gain to these mechanisms. In addition, extractivism is usually characterized by a high degree of external dependence: If export prices for raw materials change (as is currently the case during the Corona crisis), this generates instabilities and drives (international) crises. The central research question of the collaborative research project is:

Under which conditions do crises within the natural resource driven development model contribute to, accelerate or eventually deny social change?

The Approach

The collaborative research project scrutinizes the overall research question in three thematic axes:

CONCEPTUALIZATION OF EXTRACTIVISM AS A DEVELOPMENT MODEL

Mapping of the natural resource extractivism as a development model; conceptualizing and theorizing this model in its transregional variances; studying the depth of internal and external patterns of this development model.

NATURAL RESOURCES
AND SOCIETY

Exploring established patterns of distribution, conflict, and legitimacy. Scrutinizing the conditions under which these patterns affect the persistence and transformative capacity of extractivism and its respective institutional settings.

NATURAL RESOURCES, CULTURAL MENTALITIES AND HABITUS

Exploring how and under what conditions extractivism affects cultural processes and habitual routines and how far the development model extends into institution building and social practice, i.e., everyday life.

The
Methods

The project researches the crisis scenarios, possibilities for change as well as the persistence of extractivism as a development model in three country cases per region. The project aims to understand extractive societies not as deviants from the Western development path, but in their own logic and their own particularities. The project combines a strong empirical focus with theoretical work. It links both broad field research and data gathering of primary data and the qualitative and quantitative analysis of available secondary sources with a stringent transregional comparison. It develops methods in cross-area studies and investigates whether and why similar patterns of social change emerge in different areas and world regions despite major cultural, social or religious differences.

The
Methods

The project researches the crisis scenarios, possibilities for change as well as the persistence of extractivism as a development model in three country cases per region. The project aims to understand extractive societies not as deviants from the Western development path, but in their own logic and their own particularities. The project combines a strong empirical focus with theoretical work. It links both broad field research and data gathering of primary data and the qualitative and quantitative analysis of available secondary sources with a stringent transregional comparison. It develops methods in cross-area studies and investigates whether and why similar patterns of social change emerge in different areas and world regions despite major cultural, social or religious differences.

THE TRANSFER INTO POLITICS AND SOCIETY

The project translates the findings for politics, society and development cooperation.
Various formats firmly anchored in the project support this purpose:

THE INSTITUTIONS INVOLVED

The collaborative research project combines the efforts of the University of Kassel and the Philipps-University Marburg. Within the project, there is collaboration between two area studies centers at both universities as well as two Merian centers.

Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies
Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien