Blood, meat, oil and the generative power of moving resources.
(University of Bergen)
Paper short abstract:
I discuss how in Turkana, in a context of an extractive project, moving resources, oil and meat, become powerful agents in shaping conflict at different scales fueled by powerful imaginaries of blood: that of the meat feeding the oil project, of the land (oil), of Turkana victims of cattle rustling.
Paper long abstract:
In Turkana, Kenya, Tullow oil runs an oil extractive project since 2012. In this marginalised semi-arid region, prior to oil, the only resource of value and pride was livestock. Turkana are traditionally nomadic pastoralists and livestock still inform the establishment of social relations and moral values. Due to moving expertise, in this case global standardised hygienic procedures, Tullow is feeding his enclaved employees with frozen meat bought and transported from far away Nairobi. The choice of not buying local meat is met with anger, frustration and resentment by the impoverished pastoralists, adding to a long list of conflicts that the oil has brought. This paper discusses the generative, positive and negative, power of moving resources. In this particular case, both the power of resources like meat and oil and the procedures and standards that regulate these resource movement that move from the centre (London and Nairobi) to the periphery (Turkana) and the other way around. This power manifests not only in the shaping of conflicts at different scales, but also in creating powerful imaginaries and perceptions of pollution and danger, of belonging and identity in the context of an extractive project.
Mining mobility: the movement of people and expertise in the context of extractive projects [Anthropology of Mining Network]