Global flows and local ventures in artisanal and small-scale gold mining

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)


This research project explores the global-local entanglements within the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, and its implications for the development of sustainable livelihoods. The research is situated between anthropology and human geography and engages an ethnographic methodology.

In this research project, Anna explores how global-local connections entangle in the Tanzanian artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector, and how such connections enable, disturb and disrupt flows of discourses, information and materials. In particular, Anna pertains to issues of sustainability and transparency on the ground, from the perspective of artisanal and small-scale miners. The research engages the question of transparency for whom, and identifies the challenges and potentials of integrating artisanal and small-scale mining in the sustainable development goals.

The research is based on 6 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania, carried out in 2018 and 2019. It employs qualitative methods, including participant observation and semi-structured interviews. By moving between local and national scales, the project engages various stakeholders in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector.

The research accommodates a call for a better integration of social sciences in the telecoupling research and explores how telecoupled systems can be approached ethnographically.


Anna Frohn Pedersen

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, IRI THESys
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

“My research contributes to the wider field of telecouplings by offering a multi-sited, ethnographic approach to land-use changes and the various flows affecting and surrounding these.”

Anna Frohn Pedersen

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Publications …

Andersen, Astrid Oberborbeck; Bruun, Thilde Bech; Fenger, Milja; Egay, Kelvin; Klee, Simone; Frohn Pedersen, Anna; Lund Pedersen, Lærke; Suárez Villanueva, Victor. 2016. Negotiating development narratives within large-scale oil palm projects on village lands in Sarawak, Malaysia. Geographical Journal. 182 (4): 364–374.

Busck-Lumholt L.M., T. Treue (2018): Institutional Challenges to the Conservation of Arabuko-Sokoke Coastal Forest in Kenya. International Forestry Review 20(4): 488-505.

Frohn Pedersen, A., Ø. Nielsen & C. Friis (2022). Gold, friction and resistance in a globalized land system: the case of Tanzania. Journal of Land Use Science. Ahead of print:1-20.

Frohn Pedersen, A., Ø. Nielsen, C. Friis & J. Bosse Jønsson (2021). Mineral exhaustion and its livelihood implications for artisanal and small-scale miners. Environmental Science and Policy 119:34-43,

Frohn Pedersen, A., Ø. Nielsen, F. Mempel, S.L. Bager, J. Bosse Jønsson & E. Corbera (2021). The ambiguity of transparency in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector of Tanzania. The Extractive Industries and Society 101004,

… and more

Anna’s film One gram of gold has been selected for the German International Ethnographic Film Festival in Göttingen (May 25-29, 2022)

The film was created as part of Anna’s PhD project that ethnographically explores the entanglements of local livelihoods and global consumption in the gold mining sector of Tanzania. The idea behind the project was to give the microphone to the artisanal and small-scale miners of Tanzania who are rarely represented in global discussions on gold mining. It is important for Anna to contribute to the much needed agenda of decolonising academia, and she believe that participatory research is one way to do so, giving agency to the people and places we study.

Watch the TRAILER


Anna’s short film Gold was selected and presented in April 2020 for 60Seconds, an urban video festival projecting selected silent short films.

Do you ever ask yourself where your golden jewellery was born? It might well be right here, in Tanzania. Extracting gold is what employs hundreds of thousands Tanzanians and gives them food on the table. But it comes with a price that both the people and the environment will eventually pay. See the video.

Anna’s work in the news

How can we provide sustainable livelihoods for mine workers? Anna’s work was featured in the sustainability platform of Humboldt University Berlin. Wie können wir Minenarbeitern einen nachhaltigen Lebensunterhalt ermöglichen? (In German)

You don’t know where in the world it ends up: Gold mining in Tanzania. Read about Anna’s work on small-scale mining in the gold sector. „Sie wissen nicht, wo in der Welt es am Ende landet“: Goldabbau in Tansania. News page of Humboldt University Berlin. (In German)

Africa’s Wild West: The hunt for the good gold. Featuring fieldwork of Anna in Tanzania in the Danish magazine 360° – Verden I Udvikling. Afrikas Wild West – Jagen pa det gode guld. (In Danish)