Colonial Walls: Psychic Strategies in Contemporary Mining-Related Displacement


  • Paula Butler Trent University



North Mara Gold Mine, Tanzania, Canada, mining-related displacement, developmental displacement, neo-colonialism, structural violence, critical race theory


In May 2011, African Barrick Gold, owner of the North Mara Gold Mine in northern Tanzania, announced a plan to erect a three-metre-high concrete wall to enhance security against incursions from local (displaced) populations. Taking this wall as both metaphorical and material, this paper questions the psychological impact of displacement on “displacers.” How does this subject avoid psychic implosion? My review identifies legal infrastructure, mythologies of Canadian benevolence, CSR discourses, and community consultations as operating to provide psychic scaffolding for this dominant subject, who is thus inured against psychic distress and implosion in response to conditions of what can be deemed routine structural violence.


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How to Cite

Butler, P. (2014). Colonial Walls: Psychic Strategies in Contemporary Mining-Related Displacement. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 29(2), 87–99.

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