Accepted Paper:

Representations of petroleum in Chad between blessing and curse  


Yorbana Seign-Goura (University of Neuchatel)

Paper short abstract:

This ethnographical study reveals the representations of local workers and oil producing area populations in Chad which vary between extractivism and spiritualism.

Paper long abstract:

This article highlights the thoughts around the oil in Chad and is based on the speech of a category of actors including local oil workers and populations of the petroleum producing zone. Thus, it appears that a decade of oil exploitation in Chad was enough to form a collective imagination of these players in its implicit and explicit effects. The mixed record in terms of local development from the expectations of the extractive sector has caused feelings, beliefs or sometimes paradoxical representations on oil. The sense of God's gift and the promise for the fight against poverty by oil extraction, turned into the disillusionment of oil for development effect and oil curse theory. To this end, the metaphors related to fire, earth, diseases, animals, money cursed are mobilized to translate the harsh realities of the mining industry in the country. Myths, representations and discourses revealed by this ethnographical study in the oil sector in Chad are the purpose of this article. They translate and explain the thesis of the resource curse, or at least make oil exploitation wobbles between curse and blessing, at best between extractivism and spiritualism.

Panel P050
Engaging with treasures of the subsurface between extractivism and spiritualism