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

My research focuses on the politics of resource extraction and conservation that is at the core of uneven development dynamics. I situate my work within political ecology, and take an ethnographic approach to my research. I am particularly interested in contexts where the state is considered weak or 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 ‘community-based’ (conservation and consultation) policies that have had the unintended effects of reproducing inequalities (sometimes producing new ones). My research focuses on these dynamics, with the aim to foster new ways to think about development and environmental justice. 

I recently started working on a new project on 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 February 2019. 



     Côte, M. (2019) "Community-based citizenship: Autochthony and land claims politics under forest decentralisation in Burkina Faso" in Geoforum.

     Côte, M. (2019) "Politicising the will to adapt: Towards "Critical resilience studies?" in Dialogues in Human Geography 9 (2): 189-192.

     Côte, M., Wartmann, F. and R. Purves (2018) "The trouble with forest: Definitions, boundaries and values" in Geographica Helvetica 73: 253-260.  

     Côte, M. and D. Gautier (2018) "Woodfuel territorialities: Chantier d'Aménagement Forestier and the reproduction of “political forests” in Burkina Faso." in Geographica Helvetica 73:165-175. 

      Côte, M. and B. Korf (2018) ‘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.