'Oil, crisis and morality in urban Venezuela'- with Matt Wilde, University of Leicester. Part of Anthropology spring term seminar series
Once considered a leading light of the so-called “Pink Tide” in Latin America, since 2014 Venezuela has found itself in the grip of a profound social, economic and political crisis after a dramatic fall in the oil prices that power its economy. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the city of Valencia over the course of the last decade, this paper examines the contradictory moral relationship that working-class Venezuelans have with oil and the circuits of petrodollars that sporadically appear and disappear in their communities. Focusing on the mixed fortunes of an aspirational but internally stratified barrio household, I explore how different members of this home – among them a self-made government politician, a street-level state bureaucrat, a street vendor and a shop assistant – wrestle with everyday crisis as it unravels in their everyday lives. I show how inequalities associated with the uneven circulation of petrodollars are understood in vernacular terms, creating an array of moral doubts and dilemmas in the process. Such patterns, I argue, reflect the deeper contradictions that underlie Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution as a whole and the struggle to make sense of its myriad openings and dead-ends.
Dates & times
If you are attending an event and need the College to help with any mobility requirements you may have, please contact the event organiser in advance to ensure we can accommodate your needs.