Unfinished business? Trajectories and global consequences of resource nationalizations in the copper industry (1950 1980)

Start - End 
2021 - 2024 (ongoing)



This project examines nationalizations in the copper industry in Latin
America and Africa in the 1960s-70s, which involved some of the
largest business expropriations in modern history. While
nationalizations have been understood primarily through state-centric
perspectives and as a political outcome, this project maintains that
nationalizations of industries have to be examined in relation to
resource chains in which they were embedded. It thereby focuses on
the complexity of the process and on new, underexplored factors like
changing ways of organizing production, technology transfer as well
as global diversification processes. In studying these new facets, the
project aims to reveal not only conflicts but also changing ways of
business-state relations and new investment practices. In doing so, it
aims to provide through studying nationalizations a better historical
understanding of one of the paradoxes of the postwar global
economy: how the quest for economic self-determination was
eventually replaced by a more libertarian commodity regime of the
1980s. The project uses a combination of research methods,
commodity chain analysis to reveal the struggle over institutions that
governed copper chains, and digital methods to analyze and map the
global extent and consequences of copper nationalizations.