Hannah Chadeayne Appel

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9314

Approve Date

October 4, 2016

Project Title

Appel, Dr.Hannah Chadeayne, U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research and writing on 'Oil and the Licit Life of Capitalism in Equatorial Guinea' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Preliminary abstract: This book offers an ethnographic account of the daily life of capitalism. It is both an account of a specific capitalist project–US oil companies off the shores of central Africa–and an exploration of more general forms and processes–the offshore, contracts, infrastructures, ‘the’ economy–that facilitate diverse capitalist projects around the world. Equatorial Guinea is widely considered to be one of the most corrupt dictatorships in the world. The oil industry is similarly disreputable. Rather than use this book to bring attention to the scandals that saturate capitalism’s daily life, not least in the oil industry, and not least in sub-Saharan Africa, oil in Equatorial Guinea counter-intuitively offers an ideal site from which to explore the opposite of scandal: economic theory, corporate enclaves, ‘best practices’. These were the assemblages of liberalism and labor, expertise and technology, gender and domesticity that made an industry operating on the edge of legitimacy formally legitimate and productive of extraordinary profit. In all the messiness of their daily lives, these technologies, norms, processes, and affects form the licit life of capitalism: practices that are legally sanctioned, widely replicated, and ordinary, at the same time as they are messy, contested and to many, indefensible.