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20202020

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Social Movements, Extraction, Contested Academy, Corporate Exploitation, Corporate Social Responsibility, Globalization, Political Economy, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Global South, Agroecology, Political and Economic Anthropology and Geography

PhD Project

In recent years, neoclassical economic literature has undergone a fundamental change of emphasis, from orthodox neoclassical to neoinstitutional theory. World Bank research and high-level policy departments have reflected this change by shifting from development as ‘structural adjustment’ to development as ‘governance’. I engage the case of the Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development Project (CCPDP) to argue that the neoclassical economic shift is a spectacle or exhibit, irrelevant in important ways to exploitation “on the ground.” Contrary to neoclassical economics and World Bank development rationales, the CCPDP is a hyper-documented project with a hyperrestricted scope, typical of commodity exploitation in Central Africa and elsewhere. I use the case of key commodity exploitation over the last 600 years in Nigeria to show parallels with the CCPDP. First, I show the use of exhibits, spectacular violence and quotidian control in exploitation of Nigeria from slave trade with dynastic canoe houses through petroleum production at the time of nominal independence. Second, Watts’ examination of petroleum exploitation through the lens of the oil complex and the petrostate provides detailed analysis of the “ungovernable governmentality” that characterizes such exploitation in Nigeria and in the larger “oil complex.” Thirdly, I examine writing on CSR as well as evidence that political instability can be a competitive advantage. This undercuts the important neoclassical economic development notion that business simply “does business” while government and civil society are responsible for human welfare. In my conclusion I offer provisional areas where the project points to further research. These include the importance of interdisciplinary regional focus on the Chad basin and the Gulf of Guinea, including the value of business literature; ways of effectively examining social movement pressure and corporate response; and the implications of designing a project around governmentality and relational power for studies of hegemony, power and development.

External positions

Research Scholar, Ronin Institute

1 Oct 2018 → …

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