Amir Khorasani Ejbarkolai

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Bremen, U.of

Grant number

Gr. 10695

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Khorasani Ejbarkolai, Amir (Bremen, U.of) "Shifting Aspirations: Petro-labor's Quest for Water Rights in Mahshahr"

This ethnographic research delves into the intricate dynamics between water, labor, and petrochemical products within Mahshahr, a port city and company-town located in southwestern Iran along the Persian Gulf. It specifically focuses on the disconnection of aquatic spaces from urban life, a phenomenon that occurred as the city transitioned into a petrochemical hub during the 1990s. This transformation attracted a substantial influx of laborers who participated in the construction of petrochemical plants. The research explores how this new workforce initially aspired to be a part of the burgeoning petrochemical industry and seemed indifferent to the separation from aquatic spaces. However, a significant shift in their perspective occurred around the 2010s, as many of them were laid off following the commencement of the operation phase. This shift in focus led them to prioritize their right to access water over their right to industrial reintegration, subsequently reshaping their meanings and values. The study also explores how the materiality of aquatic spaces played a role in both the initial separation and the subsequent focus on water. The research aims to investigate the factors and implications of this transformation, shedding light on the evolving relationship between labor, water, and the petrochemical industry in Mahshahr.