Youth Temporalities in Africa’s Oilscapes

Project Details


This project explores the ways in which youth are both producers and inhabitants of the temporalities associated with oil extraction in Africa. Time -history, present and future- is a central frame through which people understand their lives and the materialities that shape it. Yet, studies of oil’s impact on the political economy of African states often deal with the resource as if it were a finite, ever present and always present reality. Social categories like youth are, by their very nature, time bound in the sense that they exist within a lifeworld that is ‘temporary’ and in which movement through it is defined by co-located realities of escape and prolongation. Oil is itself implicated in similar temporal logics in its promise of future transformations (or collapse when oil runs out), present disappointments and the nostalgia for a ‘pristine’ ecological past. This paper therefore brings these two temporalities together and explores how time has become a frame through which oil’s impacts on Africa is understood and deployed by youth. It draws on ethnographic work on old sites of oil extraction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and new sites of the oil imaginary like the Dangote Refinery at Ibeju Lekki to understand the different ways in which oil and youth temporalities interact and what this means for everyday mobilisations and politics.
Effective start/end date1/06/2031/12/20


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