Resource warfare, pacification and the spectacle of ‘green’ development: Logics of violence in engineering extraction in southern Madagascar

Journal Article

Bringing political ecology’s concern with the critical politics of nature and resource violence into dialogue with key debates in political geography, critical security studies and research on the geographies and phenomenology of violence and warfare, this paper explores strategies ‘from above’ in relation to the establishment and operation of the Rio Tinto QIT-Madagascar Minerals (QMM) ilmenite mine in southeast Madagascar. While QMM claims to be a responsible ‘green’ self-regulator and sustainable development actor, it has triggered serious social, environmental and legal conflicts since its inception, including allegations of a ‘double land grab’ to accommodate mining activities and compensatory biodiversity offsetting. We argue that ‘pacification’, theorised as a productive form of violence that works through the re-ordering of socio-nature, underwrites the forms of ‘security’, ‘stability’ and even ‘sustainability’ that facilitate multiple and overlapping strategies of value extraction in the territorial and extra-territorial spaces occupied by the QMM mine partnership. By situating these dynamics historically, we identify ways in which pacification draws upon sedimented and evolving logics of racialised violence to facilitate operations and silence opposition.