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See detailWhen women support the patriarchal family. The dynamics of marriage in a Gécamines mining camp (Katanga province, DR Congo)
Rubbers, Benjamin ULg

in Journal of Historical Sociology (in press)

Based on ethnographic research among the ex-Gécamines workers of Panda (Likasi, DR Congo), this article studies the dynamics of the spousal relationship in a post-industrial context that has been long ... [more ▼]

Based on ethnographic research among the ex-Gécamines workers of Panda (Likasi, DR Congo), this article studies the dynamics of the spousal relationship in a post-industrial context that has been long characterized by paternalism. The results of this research suggest that, though men and women living in this mining community talk about their spousal relationships by invoking the ideal of Christian marriage promoted during the colonial period, in practice such relationships faced important changes following Congolese independence in 1960. The nationalization and subsequent dramatic decline of Gécamines caused changes which directly affected three central dimensions of the colonial family model, namely monogamy, the ideal of domesticity, and male authority. If men and women continue to reference this model, it is because, in times of growing poverty, it allows spouses to remind one other of their respective duties as docile housewives and responsible husbands, and to command respect as virtuous Christian families in the local community. [less ▲]

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See detailLe paternalisme en question. Les anciens ouvriers de la Gécamines face à la libéralisation du secteur minier katangais (RD Congo)
Rubbers, Benjamin ULg

Book published by L'Harmattan (2013)

En 1926, l’Union minière du Haut-Katanga jette les bases de sa politique paternaliste, qui touchera tous les aspects de la vie quotidienne de ses travailleurs pendant plus d’un demi-siècle. En 2003, après ... [more ▼]

En 1926, l’Union minière du Haut-Katanga jette les bases de sa politique paternaliste, qui touchera tous les aspects de la vie quotidienne de ses travailleurs pendant plus d’un demi-siècle. En 2003, après une décennie dans la tourmente, 10 000 agents sont licenciés de l’entreprise dans le cadre du projet de libéralisation du secteur minier conçue par la Banque mondiale. De quelle façon ont-ils réagi à leur ‘abandon’ par l’entreprise ? Comment ont-ils fait face à leur nouvelle indépendance ? Quels effets le déclin de leurs conditions de vie, puis leur départ de la société, ont-ils induits sur leurs rapports avec leur épouse, leurs enfants, leur entourage ? Basé sur une recherche ethnographique dans un camp ouvrier de Likasi (Katanga, République Démocratique du Congo), ce livre s’attache à répondre à ces questions en prenant appui sur un cadre d’analyse inspiré de M. Foucault. Cette approche lui permet de développer au fil des pages une réflexion plus large sur l’expérience vécue du paternalisme dans le nouvel ordre économique que la Banque mondiale cherche à imposer dans cette région de l’Afrique. [less ▲]

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See detailWhy do Congolese people go to court? A qualitative study of litigants’ careers in two justice of the peace courts in Lubumbashi, D.R.Congo
Rubbers, Benjamin ULg; Gallez, Emilie

in Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (2012), 66

Although JP courts did not escape the general deterioration of Congolese administrative structures, Congolese people continue to use these courts to resolve their conflicts. Based on qualitative research ... [more ▼]

Although JP courts did not escape the general deterioration of Congolese administrative structures, Congolese people continue to use these courts to resolve their conflicts. Based on qualitative research carried out in Lubumbashi, this article attempts to understand why people bring their cases to the JP court. How do litigants make that decision in the first place? Once their cases are underway, how do they deal with the trial? The authors emphasise the fact that while litigants denounce the corruption that occurs within the legal system, they continue nevertheless to have confidence in justice itself and in the State. This faith reflects the importance of the law and the formal ideal of institutions that were inherited from the Belgian colonial period in various areas of the daily life of Congolese people. But it also suggests that, counter to the dominant paradigm in the study of the State in Africa, these institutional norms do not simply represent an illusion without basis in reality. Where circumstances allow, these norms do indeed play a structuring role in the functioning of bureaucracy in Congo. [less ▲]

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See detailClaiming workers' rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo: the case of the Collectif des ex-agents de la Gécamines
Rubbers, Benjamin ULg

in Review of African Political Economy (2010), 37(125), 329-344

Within the context of its strategy for the reform of public companies in Africa, the World Bank became involved in redundancies of questionable legality. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example ... [more ▼]

Within the context of its strategy for the reform of public companies in Africa, the World Bank became involved in redundancies of questionable legality. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the Bank arranged and financed a voluntary severance programme in 2003, whereby 10,000 employees of the mining company Gécamines, some 45% of its workforce, left in return for an arbitrarily fixed lump-sum payment. Based on ethnographic research, this paper discusses the history of the protest movement which emerged from this mass redundancy programme, the arguments deployed by the movement and the resources available to it. On the basis of this case study, the paper goes on to offer some thoughts on the conditions for social criticism in a transitional regime, heir to an authoritarian tradition of long standing, and operating under the tutelage of foreign donors. [less ▲]

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