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Carceral Repair

Methane Extraction in Lake Kivu, Rwanda

Kristin Doughty

Abstract

This article, based on ethnographic fieldwork in 2016–2019, examines methane extraction operations in Lake Kivu on the Rwanda/DRC border as a lens into understanding how energy futures in Africa are imagined and enacted within national projects of post-war reconstruction. In 2005, scientists suggested that the lake's dissolved methane risked oversaturation within the century. This spurred state-backed projects to simultaneously prevent a natural disaster and harness the methane to meet Rwanda's rising electrification needs. Two companies are currently building and operating methane-fuelled power plants. The article suggests that these energy projects, an integral part of the overall architecture of social repair in Rwanda, reproduce and generate forms of captivity and entrapment that are central to understanding the lived politics of ‘carceral repair’, a generation after genocide.

Open access

Civilization as the Undesired World

Radical Environmentalism and the Uses of Dystopia in Times of Climate Crisis

Stine Krøijer

Unlike the concept of utopia, an explicit concern with dystopia is almost completely absent from anthropology. This article describes the technologies or uses of dystopia among a group of radical environmental activists in Germany. Dystopia means an undesired or frightening society or place, and, according to the activists, describes our current society and civilization—a consumerist lifestyle and overexploitation of nature that will inevitably lead to environmental collapse. This image is used politically to create estrangement and to make distance from undesired others and their practices. The article suggests that an analytical attention to the political technologies of dystopia might be of broad relevance for efforts to understand politics at our present historical conjuncture where utopias seem to have disappeared from mainstream political life.

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Colonising ‘Free’ Will

A Critique of Political Decolonisation in Ghana

Bernard Forjwuor

Abstract

While colonialism, in general, is a contested concept, as are the conditions that constitute its negation, political decolonisation seems to be a relatively settled argument. Where such decolonisation occurred, political independence, and its attendant democratic system and the undergirding of the rule of law, signify the self-evidentiality of such political decolonisation. This article rethinks this self-evidentiality of political independence as necessarily a decolonial political accomplishment in Ghana. This critical enterprise opens the documents that founded the newly independent state to alternative reading to demonstrate how the colonial folded itself into the dictate of freedom.

Free access

Nir Gazit and Yagil Levy

The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in the United States in May 2020 and the subsequent turmoil, as well as the violence against migrants on the US-Mexican border, have drawn major public and media attention to the phenomenon of police brutality (see, e.g., Levin 2020; Misra 2018; Taub 2020), which is often labeled as ‘militarization of police’. At the same time, in recent years military forces have been increasingly involved in policing missions in civilian environments, both domestically (see, e.g., Kanno-Youngs 2020; Schrader 2020; Shinkman 2020) and abroad. The convergence of military conduct and policing raises intriguing questions regarding the impact of these tendencies on the military and the police, as well as on their legitimacy.

Open access

Crafting Spaces of Value

Infrastructure, Technologies of Extraction and Contested Oil in Nigeria

Omolade Adunbi

Abstract

This ethnographic investigation of the rise of the artisanal oil refining industry in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, shows how oil infrastructures have become contested between the state, multinational oil corporations and local youths in what I call a ‘new oil frontier’. I argue that artisanal refineries are indicative of the politics of crude oil governance and reveal complex, integrated and innovative forms of extractive practices by youth groups within many Niger Delta communities. Using the example of the Bodo community in Ogoniland, where local youths operate refineries constructed with local materials and technology, I show that such refineries represent an emergent form of energy capture that transforms the creeks of the Niger Delta into islands of carbon sale and challenges state and corporate power.

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James K. Beggan

Abstract

External ejaculation (the cum shot) is considered a central component of heterosexual pornography and is often used to visually mark the end of an action of sexual intercourse. Critical analyses of pornography have asserted that external ejaculation can be conceptualized in terms of the maintenance of heteronormative expectations of male dominance as expressed through hegemonic masculinity. The present analysis adopts a broader view of external ejaculation by considering the phenomenon in terms of contamination, performance, and discipline. The polysemic analysis presented suggests that in some cases the conventions of pornography as represented in the external cum shot can represent a threat to masculinity and male spectators by creating unrealistic expectations for male sexual performance.

Free access

Jonathan A. Allan, Chris Haywood, and Frank G. Karioris

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Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control

Updated for Big Data and Predictive Analytics

James Brusseau

Abstract

In 1990, Gilles Deleuze published Postscript on the Societies of Control, an introduction to the potentially suffocating reality of the nascent control society. This thirty-year update details how Deleuze's conception has developed from a broad speculative vision into specific economic mechanisms clustering around personal information, big data, predictive analytics, and marketing. The central claim is that today's advancing control society coerces without prohibitions, and through incentives that are not grim but enjoyable, even euphoric because they compel individuals to obey their own personal information. The article concludes by delineating two strategies for living that are as unexplored as control society itself because they are revealed and then enabled by the particular method of oppression that is control.

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Gustavo H. Dalaqua

Abstract

This article seeks to contribute to the debate on how political representation can promote democracy by analysing the Chamber in the Square, which is a component of legislative theatre. A set of techniques devised to democratise representative governments, legislative theatre was created by Augusto Boal when he was elected a political representative in 1993. After briefly reviewing Nadia Urbinati's understanding of democratic representation as a diarchy of will and judgement, I partially endorse Hélène Landemore's criticism and contend that if representation is to be democratic, citizens’ exchange of opinions in the public sphere should be invested with the power not only to judge but also to decide political affairs. By opening up a space where the represented can judge, decide, and contest the general terms of the bills representatives present in the assembly, the Chamber in the Square harnesses political representation to democracy.

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“The Dragon Can't Roar”

Analysis of British Expatriate Masculinity in Yusuf Dawood's One Life Too Many

Antony Mukasa Mate

Abstract

This article examines British masculinity in Kenya. It focuses on British expatriate Sydney Walker, the protagonist of Yusuf Dawood's One Life Too Many, who moves to Kenya at the height of British colonial rule and stays on in the new postcolonial state under black rule. It looks at how he constructs his masculinity among fellow men and in relation to the female other. Walker struggles to retain the colonial masculinity of his predecessors amid shifting terrain. Using the key concepts of hegemonic and subordinate masculinities as presented in Raewyn Connell's masculinity theory, which argues that gendered relationships in institutions are controlled by power, this article examines the diverse masculinities in One Life Too Many and argues that sex plays a major role as an instrument of power that heterosexual men use to dominate other men and subordinate women. It contends that the power dynamics in the sexual arena symbolically represent the shifting power relations in the postcolonial Kenyan state, in which the status of British working-class men had changed due to their loss of political power.