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Accepted Paper:

Energy pedagogies: oil, development and civil responsibility in Ghana  
Pauline Destree (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses discourses and performances of oil-for-development in Ghana as pedagogical projects that turn a key natural resource into an object of civil responsibility and merit.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the ethics of oil wealth distribution at the Ghanaian national oil company’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Foundation. Through interactions between communities earmarked as beneficiaries of oil revenues and the Foundation’s staff, it analyses how understandings of care, responsibility, investment and distribution are enacted between the state and some of its ‘poorest of the poor’ citizens. It looks at the ways that oil translates into a developmental and ethical apparatus that frames poverty and destitution as infrastructural and moral conditions that can be transcended through inspirational narratives and educational practices. In the various manifestations of oil revenues (boreholes, classrooms, dormitories, and other community facilities), CSR projects enact a vision of futurity and development that is not so much a financial or social endeavour as a pedagogical project, dependent upon successfully imparting ‘good behaviour’ onto citizens. Through these ‘investments in people’, oil works as a pedagogy that turns a national resource, and its redistribution, into an object of civil responsibility and merit.

Panel Speak17b
Who speaks for energy? Responsibility and authority in the ethnographies of energy in an era of anthropogenic climate change II
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -