Sabine Luning

Dr. Sabine Luning, Lecturer at Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University
Sabine Luning

Dr. Sabine Luning’s PhD research dealt with the social dynamics of ritual practices in Burkina Faso, a topic at the crossroads of religious ideas, politics, and social identities. After she obtained her PhD she continued to study the contemporary situation of chiefs as well as local perceptions of the natural environment, especially how these are shaped in wider social arenas such as national elections and development projects. Ever since her first professional experience as an anthropologist in a large DGIS project, she has retained an interest in the social relations, power dynamics, and organizational culture of development initiatives.


Her current research focuses on economic anthropology, in particular the booming business of gold mining in West Africa. Sabine Luning investigates interactions between representatives of multilateral organizations, the state, international companies, national entrepreneurs, artisanal miners, and local communities, as well as the moral discourses that accompany and shape these interactions. Since Canadian exploration companies are prominent in mining worldwide, part of her research on for instance Corporate Social Responsibility is carried out in Canada. As part of the CoCoon project GOMIAM, headed by Marjo de Theije (VU Amsterdam and CEDLA), she has recently started research on gold mining at the border of Suriname and French Guiana. Together with Barbara Hoogenboom (CEDLA) and Marjo de Theije (VU University Amsterdam) she has set up the Mining Research Network (MRN). The network serves discussions and exchanges among academia, NGOs, and other institutions who are studying worldwide mining trends and their social, political, environmental, cultural, and economic implications.

Key publications