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Accepted Paper:

Farming after oil: post-oil livelihoods and economies of sustenance in Ghana  
Pauline Destree (Durham University)

Paper Short Abstract:

What happens when resource frontiers 'fail'? This paper explores the changing value of oil in the aftermath of an oil rush in Ghana, and the alternative economic futures that the anticipation of the end of oil brings about.

Paper Abstract:

In this paper, I explore the changing value of oil amid an aborted oil rush in Ghana. As one of the new African oil producers following the commercial exploitation of offshore discoveries in 2010, Ghana’s pursuit of oil has been marred by a series of crises that have precipitated the early decline of the industry. Despite popular perceptions and official projections of oil’s abundance, there are signs that the oil boom anticipated since the discoveries in 2007 will not materialize. As the futurity of oil at a time of environmental crisis is put into question, new expectations, hopes and fears emerge about what the end of oil might herald. In Takoradi, Ghana’s new Oil City, workers formerly employed in the logistics’ sector of the industry are disillusioned with oil’s failed promises and speak of a return to agriculture and services oriented toward longevity, stability, and the domestic economy. This paper explores their career trajectories and their attempts to secure livelihoods and reimagine life after oil. I describe these post-oil economic activities as a political project to re-establish “economies of sustenance” that foreground life-sustaining capacities (food, family, and friendship networks) and move beyond the extractive logic of the oil industry.

Panel P217
Life after oil? Undoing the contradictions of the energy transition [Environmental Anthropology Network (EAN)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -