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Anticipating oil: the temporal politics of a disaster yet to come

Weszkalnys, Gisa (2014) Anticipating oil: the temporal politics of a disaster yet to come. Sociological Review, 62 (S1). pp. 211-235. ISSN 0038-0261

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-954X.12130


Here, I analyse the temporal politics of economic disaster associated with prospective oil exploration in the African Atlantic island state of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). I call this politics the ‘not yet’ of disaster – a temporality in which future disaster has effects in the present. The theories and practices of social scientists, global policy institutions, and advocacy groups have contributed to an ontology of oil as a disastrous matter that may cause a ‘resource curse’. Focusing on STP's anticipated oil resources, I ask what political forms, objects and effects are generated by what some consider a disaster in the making. I trace the role of anticipation as a specific temporal disposition, particularly among Santomean state officials and members of civil society, which substitutes fresh certainties and uncertainties about what oil might bring. These include suspicions and uncertainties regarding the operations of anticipation itself. Suspicion, I suggest, is not the target of anticipation but implicated in its practice and may even call it into doubt, thus redirecting anticipation against itself.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author. Editorial organisation © 2014 The Editorial Board of the Sociological Review
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2014 10:52
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:54
Funders: John Fell OUP Research Fund, British Academy

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