Imagining a future petro-state in Uganda
Citable Link (URL):https://doi.org/10.3249/2363-894X-gisca-7
First published (peer reviewed)
GISCA occasional papers; 7
GISCA,Göttingen Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2016
In this paper, I argue that even though oil production in Uganda has not yet started, the oil is already relevant in its anticipation. In its “not-yet” state, the oil has gained a discursive presence in politics, media and civil society. I analyse the visions of the future that are created in this oil talk. The government paints a picture of a bright future, in which oil is a blessing to all, while civil society portrays oil as a shadow looming over Uganda. Despite this difference, I show that all the visions refer to the resource curse: Oil can either be a blessing or a curse. I understand the resource curse discourse as a form of risk communication. I propose that for people in the oil regions knowledge of the resource curse as a risk increases existing feelings of uncertainty with regard to the oil. The paper is based on 15 months of fieldwork in Uganda between 2012 and 2015.