The purpose of this research is to establish the grounds for a critical social scientific analysis of mineral development based upon the case study of women in informal peasant gold mining or garimpagem 1 in the Brazilian Amazon. Situated at the local/regional level of analysis, this case study illustrates the main tensions of contemporary mineral development. First, the region’s mineral development paths appear as a result of the application of liberal and neo-liberal economic policies of modernization and liberalization of primary export sectors and later on import substituting industrialization. Significant examples are the Primeiro Plano de Desenvolvimento Nacional and the Segundo Plano de Desenvolvimento Nacional, which created agro-mineral growth poles to alleviate the domestic economic problems triggered by the international oil shocks of 1973 and 1979. In the second place, intersecting and conflictive discourses of local, national and international mineral development drive regional production. Nationally owned mining companies, subsidiaries of multinational corporations, and formal and informal small-scale mining enterprises fight agains
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