Fighting elephants, suffering grass: oil exploitation in Nigeria

Umejesi I & Thompson M (2015). Fighting elephants, suffering grass: oil exploitation in Nigeria. Journal of Organizational Change Management 5 (5): 791-811. DOI:10.1108/JOCM-03-2015-0048.

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to understand the interactions of the different actors - the state, multnational oil and gas companies, environmental advocacy groups and local people - in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The paper draws on interviews, observations and focus group discussions, as well as on archival materials relating to the development of the oil and gas industry during the colonial period (i.e. pre-1960 Nigeria).

The paper draws on interviews, observations and focus group discussions, as well as on archival oil and gas companies, environmental advocacy groups and local people - in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

A cultural theory-based analysis of the environmental risk perceptions of the different actors reveals a profoundly unconstructive institutional configuration, in which the collusion of two "solidarities" -the oil companies (individualism) and the state (hierarchy) - has led to the exclusion of the local communities (egalitarianism) who have found themselves impoverished and marginalised (fatalism). With these two "elephants" - individualism/hierarchy and egalitarianism/fatalism - pitted against each other, it has been the "grass" - the natural environment that has suffered.

Giving the local communities a stake in the wealth-creating process, from which they are at present excluded, would shift the pattern of inter-solidarity engagement from one in which two "active" (i.e. non-fatalist) voices silence the third to one in which each voice is able to make itself heard and is then responsive to the others.

Innovative and current on under-researched topic and geography. The main fieldwork was conducted between 2007 and 2008, with further field visits and updates between 2009 and 2013.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conflict; Niger delta; oil; cultural theory; communities; risk and vulnerability
Research Programs: Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Bibliographic Reference: Journal of Organizational Change Management; 5(5):791-811 [[August 2015]]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:53
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 12:15
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11379

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