"The Social Life Of Oil"
Oil is the key ingredient of the industrial and consumer civilization of late capitalism and its life cycle from exploration to consumption affects all aspects of social and planetary life. Yet, since the 1970s the analysis of the political and spatial impact of oil by scholars, commentators, and policy makers has been increasingly stripped of its social content. 'Oil' is nowadays discursively reduced to financial revenues to governments, a geopolitical resource, or a cause of global warming. The role of labor, local communities, and the interwoven social and political networks that make the production and circulation of oil in its various forms are rendered invisible. This talk will focus on the Middle East oil producers, and discuss the origins of this discursive de-politicization of oil in the region and its consequences.
Kaveh Ehsani is assistant professor of International Studies, and director of graduate studies at DePaul University in Chicago. He has been a longstanding member of the editorial boards of the journals Goftogu (Dialogue) in Tehran, Middle East Report (Merip), and more recently of Iranian Studies. He is a regular media commentator about domestic and international Iranian politics.
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