Critical oil Politics : Governing oil in left turn Latin America [article]

Carlos Morreo Boada, University, The Australian National
2020
Governing oil has been key to the emergence of particular sociotechnical realities throughout the last century and a half. A time-span of the modern/colonial which has been conceptualised by competing social science discourses as 'capitalism' and 'democracy'. A hydrocarbon centred era throughout which the political substance of oil in the form of fuel and energy, as infrastructure or as commodity has shaped the ecology of our politics. An epoch of 'petrocapitalism' and 'carbon democracy' we may
more » ... refer to as 'oil modernity'. Recently, 'oil assemblages' have emerged in the capitalist periphery that have challenged the political economy of oil modernity. Thus, a particular category of oil politics has been made possible through the novel practices, technopolitics, expertise and governing oil at play in these sites. Such a 'critical oil politics' will be of greater significance within the epoch of transitions the contemporary world has now entered and as we begin to address the breaching of ecological frontiers. The research project offers an analysis of contemporary instances of critical oil politics taken from Latin America and the Caribbean. The research focuses primarily on two oil assemblages and the forms of 'political oil' they put forward. It takes as its cases Venezuela's Petrocaribe - an oil and energy cooperation program established by the Bolivarian revolutionary government in 2005 - and its form of 'socialist oil', together with Ecuador's oil-based and environmentally informed Yasuni-ITT Initiative (2007-2013) and its promise of an 'oil that stays in the ground', an 'ecological oil'. Both Petrocaribe and the Yasuni-ITT Initiative put forward novel understandings of economy and particular oil objects that go beyond the oil commodity as they shaped Latin America's left turn. The research details both left turn oil assemblages in order to approach the forms of political oil they develop while seeking to comprehend their possibilities and limitations as critical oil politics. To do this the project focuses on [...]
doi:10.25911/5f85747a3002b fatcat:nmv4rh645jfkzipi6pz6n56yka