Our team-member Dr Pauline Destree is giving an online seminar at Brunel University based on her European Research Council research in Ghana on Feb 23rd at 1pm GMT.

Talk title: “We work for the Devil”: Oil, Extraction and the Toxicity of Love

Abstract: In Takoradi, Ghana, workers in the offshore oil industry describe oil-work as both “the work of the Devil” and a “labor of love”. While oil extraction’s logic of exploitation and violence has been well-documented, love is rarely problematized as a defining force in global ecologies of capitalism. Considering oil-work as a labor of love challenges logics of extraction predicated on relations of domination, accumulation and destruction, turning instead to the imperatives of care and responsibility that legitimize them. Casting themselves as providers within a sacrificial economy of oil, oil workers emphasize the ethical ambiguity of oil as a “necessary evil” – a substance whose vital necessity to human life entails commensurate loss on both personal and planetary scales. Building on Hannah Arendt’s thought on the “anti-political” and “unworldly” nature of love, and Michael Hardt’s proposition for a “political concept of love”, in this talk I explore how the ethical demands of love shape and sustain global systems of inequality and ecological destruction.

If you wish to attend, please email: [email protected]