In countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Columbia or Indonesia it seems evident that natural resource wealth does not automatically translate into economic or societal welfare. In much contrast, exploitation of natural resources seems to affect socio-economic as well as political development negatively and furthermore, it often correlates with the outbreak and escalation of violent conflicts. Aspects of just distribution, representation and recognition are essential to solving such conflicts.
While the completed predecessor project on business in zones of conflict comparatively analyzed corporations from various sectors, the follow-up project focuses on the role of corporations in such justice-related conflicts around natural resources. Corporations participate in the exploitation of resources and are buyers in global resource markets. Finally, especially in recent years, they are direct participants in various initiatives to govern natural resources at the local, national and global level.
Against this background, the project is guided by two overarching questions:
Conflicts over natural resources touch upon various dimensions of justice: They can arise over material distribution when, for example, land or property rights or revenues from resource exploitation are disputed. But conflicts can also relate to more procedural conceptions of justice where recognition and representation of local communities are at stake because the latter do not feel sufficiently represented or view resource exploitation as another symptom of cultural domination and ill-recognition.
Accordingly, the project will investigate the role of corporations in justice-related conflicts about natural resources from various perspectives and will ask, inter alia: