Muriel Côte

Muriel Côte, Dr.

Group leader

Political Geography

Tel.: 044 63 55209

Room number: Y25 L 70


Forest, gold, security, Burkina Faso, Sahel, territorialisation, property, authority, state margins.



MA in social anthropology, University of St Andrews, UK

MPhil in Geographical research, University of Cambridge UK

PhD in Geography, University of Edinburgh, UK


Current research

In my research, I am interested in the territorialisation of power and control over the production of land and natural resources. This problematic is at the core of uneven development dynamics, in particular in contexts where the state is considered weak of absent.

Empirically, since starting my phd, I have been focusing on the production of woodfuel and gold resources in Burkina Faso. Both resources have been the subject of ‘formalisation’ policies (of forest management, and of artisanal golmining) which have had unintended effects (the production of inequalities, and localized conflicts). Yet these policies also ‘take place’ and grow out of wider international networks of power and authority, involving NGOs and private companies. My research focuses on those linkages, with the aim to improve an understanding of the conditions under which unwanted political and development outcomes come about.

I situate my work at the hinge between political ecology and political ecology, taking a resolutely ethnographic approach to my research.

At the present, I also work on the question of security, through the case of the ‘kogl weogo’ auto-defense groups that have consolidated in Burkina Faso since 2016. This project is a collaboration with sociologist colleagues at the University of Ouagadougou and will end in October 2018. 



      Côte, M. and B. Korf (in press) ‘Making concessions: Extractive enclaves, entangled capitalism and regulative pluralism at the gold mining frontier in Burkina Faso’ in World Development 

     Côte, M. (2015) ‘Authochthony, democratisation and forest: The politics of choice in Burkina Faso’ RFGI Working Paper 26. University of Illinois, IUCN, CODESRIA.

      Côte, M. (2013) 'What's in a Right? The liberalisation of gold mining and decentralisation in Burkina Faso' LDPI Working Paper 25. The Hague: ISS, Land Deals Politics Initiative.

      Polack, E., Cotula, L. and M. Côte (2013) Accountability in Africa’s land rush: what role for legal empowerment? London: IIED/IDRC

      Côte, M. and Nightingale, A. (2012) 'Resilience thinking meets social theory' in Progress in Human Geography 36(4) : 475-490.

      Côte, M. (2011) 'Résister à la nouvelle course pour la terre: Vers une «écologie politique» de la question de la terre au Sahel' in Ecologie et Politique 42(3) : 81-92.