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Accepted Paper:

A sovereign conundrum: un/doing national post-oil economies?  
Antonio Maria Pusceddu (Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia, Iscte - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa)

Paper Short Abstract:

Focusing on the “dispute” over the oil industry in Portugal, the paper explores visions of national sovereignty, economic nationalism and climate internationalism, and how they are variously enacted in the struggles around the un/doing of post-oil futures.

Paper Abstract:

In December 2020, the Galp multinational company announced the closure of one of the two oil refineries operating in Portugal. The closure of the “northern” refinery was presented as part of a wider corporate strategy to improve the environmental standards of the only remaining refinery in the south, thus claiming an active role in the “decarbonization” of the economy. The company’s unilateral decision was met with mild protest from the government, while labour unions objected to the gradual dismantling of the national production infrastructure with the cover-up of the energy transition. The following year, the Portuguese climate justice movement staged an attempt to block the southern refinery, to press for an acceleration of the post-carbon transition. Labour unions mobilized discourses of national sovereignty to defend workers’ livelihoods and against transnational corporate interests, while the climate movement claimed a radical climate internationalism against the fossil industry. This paper discusses how struggles around the un/making of oil economies are entangled with national imaginaries, transnational realities and economic nationalism, and how they cope with the unequal relations of the global oil industry. Focusing on the “dispute” over the last oil refinery in Portugal, the paper explores notions of national sovereignty and climate internationalism, and how they are variously enacted in the un/doing of post-oil futures.

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