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A doubtful hope: resource affect in a future oil economy

Weszkalnys, Gisa (2016) A doubtful hope: resource affect in a future oil economy. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 22 (S1). 127 - 146. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.12397


In global debates about natural resource extraction, affect has played an increasingly prominent, if somewhat nameless, role. This paper proposes a theorization of resource affect both as an intrinsic element of capitalist dynamics and as an object problematized by corporate, government, and third‐sector practice. Drawing on ethnographic research in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP), I explore the affective horizons generated by the prospect of hydrocarbon exploration: a doubtful hope comprised of visions of material betterment, personal and collective transformation, as well as anticipations of failure, friction, and discontent. I also examine the multitude of oil‐related campaigns, activities, and programmes initiated by non‐governmental organizations and global governance institutions in STP, animated by the specific conundrums presented by oil's futurity. In light of this, I argue that what we see emerging is a new resource politics that revolves around not simply the democratic and technical aspects of resource exploitation but increasingly their associated affective dissonances and inconsistencies.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 Royal Anthropological Institute
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2015 13:43
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:21

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