While there is scholarship focused on the nexus between resource extraction and development, further examination is needed of how the harms and benefits of extraction are differentiated among different stakeholders based on factors such as their access to power, authority over decision-making, social status,and gender. This article combines theoretical insights from assemblage thinking and political ecology to unpack the intertwined range of actors, networks, and structures of power that inform the differentiated benefits and harms of hydrocarbon extraction in Ghana. The study shows that power serves as a crucial ingredient in understanding relations among social groups, including purported beneficiaries of extractive activities, and other actors that constitute the networked hydrocarbon industry. The different levels (i.e. global, national, sub-national,local) at which the socio-ecological 'goods' and 'bads' of hydrocarbon extraction become manifest are relational. The article contributes to ongoing scholarly and policy discussions around extractivism by showing how a multi-scalar analysis reveals a more complex picture of the distributional politics, power asymmetries, and injustices that underpin resource extraction.
Keywords: Ghana, power, environmental justice, political ecology, hydrocarbons, social differentiation, scale
How to Cite:
Andrews, N., (2021) “Oil, power and social differentiation: A political ecology of hydrocarbon extraction in Ghana”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1), 358-375. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2837
- Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Queen’s University