2020-02-20Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21464
Shades of Conflict in Kyrgyzstan
National Actor Perceptions and Behaviour in Mining
Confronted with advancing resource frontiers, local communities increasingly rely on conflict to re-establish order in the face of problematic interdependences brought about by mining transactions. This article captures the interactions at national level that engender these interdependences in the first place. We explore how national actor groups influence emerging regularities of behaviour in mining through the example of gold mining in Kyrgyzstan – a fragile resource-dependent country divided by mining conflicts. For the analysis of these emerging patterns of behaviour, we focus on shared beliefs and norms that in interaction with perceived dimensions of transactions provide motivation to act. The identified regularities of behaviour help differentiate the otherwise crude dichotomy of conflict and cooperation, pointing to shades of conflicts. Mining conflicts in Kyrgyzstan are driven by profound structural factors that are rooted in weak governance, lack of institutional trust and limited cooperation across national actor groups. Risks and costs are distributed to outgroups, threatening the local social-ecological systems and further fragmenting Kyrgyz society. If extraction continues in the current mode of governance, resource-based grievances are likely to persist in Kyrgyzstan, as mining will increasingly encroach on local ecosystems, livelihoods and cultural commons – unless the national perceptions and shared beliefs change.
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This article was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.