Technography of small-scale gold mining in the Amazon

//Technography of small-scale gold mining in the Amazon
Technography of small-scale gold mining in the Amazon 2016-12-14T14:53:45+00:00

Technography of small-scale gold mining in the Amazon

Technography can be considered as an ethnography of technology. It is proposed by Jansen et al. (2011) and others as an interdisciplinary methodology for the detailed study of the use of skills, tools, knowledge and techniques in everyday life, especially for the integrative study of social-technical configurations. Where ethnography is used in the social sciences to account for the detailed description of human X human interaction, accordingly, technography can be regarded as a descriptive social science of technology that examines human X machine/tool interaction.

This methodology is useful within the GOMIAM project context, where both anthropologists and (mining) engineers have been working together on research and policy advice in the period 2011-2016 on several topics related to small-scale gold mining in the Amazon, with a focus on situations of conflict and cooperation in this sector. Mining technology is at the basis of the mining process, but it was clearly felt in the project that it could never do without considering the wider socio-economic and political context at the same time. Therefore, the GOMIAM researchers set out to develop and execute a research methodology that we would like to call a technography of small-scale gold mining in four Amazon countries: Suriname, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.

The main results of this research are presented below, but first some quick details on the methodology and research steps taken:

Methodology

In order to be able to execute comparative research in four different countries the following research elements were developed and written down in a manual:

  1. Questionnaire for miners (with multiple choice miners)
  2. List of questions for local expert miners (with open ended questions)
  3. A video assignment to be executed on each research location
  4. Guide for conducting group discussions based on the first technology research results

Step 1: Research in Suriname

First, the research was executed by a multi-disciplinary group of researchers in Suriname, in the period 13-22 January 2016. The group was composed of two mining engineers, a fishery engineer, an anthropologist, a geologist, a water engineer, two master students and a bachelor student of the mining group of the Anton de Kom University Paramaribo. This group managed to conduct in total 56 questionnaires (A.) with a group of 6 interviewees (MT, RF, BY, RB, SE,PC), around six interviews (B.) with local expert miners, shoot many videos of the mining practices (C.) in the research area and conduct two group discussions (D.). Besides, a technical characterization of the mining sites was done by the Brazilian mining engineer in the team, by means of an additional questionnaire, executed by him and the students.

Next step: Comparative research

After this, the research methodology was shared with the GOMIAM country teams in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. Here, resp. 30, 10 and 24 questionnaires were done with miners, also a number of videos were made.

This allows us to compare some of the technology research outcomes in the different GOMIAM countries. The conclusions will be presented below, after presenting the four different research areas.

Description of the four research areas

Suriname

Service design is a form of conceptual design that involves the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers.

Peru

Service design may function as a way to inform changes to an existing service or create a new service entirely. The purpose of service design methodologies is to establish best practices for designing services according to both the needs of customers and the competencies and capabilities of service providers.

Bolivia

If a successful method of service design is employed, the service will be user-friendly and relevant to the customers, while being sustainable and competitive for the service provider. For this purpose, service design uses methods and tools derived from different disciplines, ranging from ethnography

Brazil

If a successful method of service design is employed, the service will be user-friendly and relevant to the customers, while being sustainable and competitive for the service provider. For this purpose, service design uses methods and tools derived from different disciplines, ranging from ethnography

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