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P217


Life after oil? Undoing the contradictions of the energy transition [Environmental Anthropology Network (EAN)] 
Convenors:
Zeynep Oguz (University of Edinburgh)
Pauline Destree (Durham University)
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Formats:
Panel
Mode:
Face-to-face

Short Abstract:

Taking “after oil” as an ethnographic object, this panel examines how various actors plan for, imagine or seek to defer the end of oil. It critically explores the life worlds taking place after oil to highlight contradictions and alternative possibilities of energy transitions.

Long Abstract:

What will it take to transition societies beyond oil? While recent reports indicate a peak in fossil fuel demand by 2030 (IEA 2023), the granting of new oil and gas exploration licenses across the globe suggest an expansion of petro-assemblages that contravene pledges to net zero. A recent report by the Stockholm Environment Institute and the UNEP suggests that the misalignment gap between countries’ targets under the Paris Agreement and fossil fuel production is growing alarmingly as the world’s largest oil and gas producers plan on long-term increases in production until 2050 (SEI et al, 2023). In this panel, we take “life after oil” as an ethnographic object to explore the contradictions of energy transitions at a time of deep uncertainties around energy futures and taken-for-granted declarations of a post-oil transition. We ask: how do companies, professionals, communities, politicians, workers and the public plan for and imagine the end of oil – or seek to defer it? When does “after oil” start: with the depletion of reserves, their economic or technical unviability, their moral condemnation, or else? What do post-oil economies, livelihoods, and infrastructures look like? What alternatives do they make possible, what challenges do they face? What will the end of oil undo, what will it keep intact? Whose visions come to matter? In asking these questions, the panel will explore the life worlds reassembled “after oil” and contribute to a greater understanding of the contradictions and challenges of energy transitions in the Global South and the Global North.

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2