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The Power of Oil?

The Power of Oil?

Energy, Machines, and the Forces of Capital

(p.1) Chapter one The Power of Oil?
Matthew T. Huber
University of Minnesota Press

This chapter states that discourses on commodity fetishism are often framed under the “commodity chain analysis,” with the goal to unveil the real social relations behind the commodity. The truth behind the false consciousness of oil can be traced through the networks of oil rig operators, pipelines, refinery workers, tanker drivers, and gas station owners who were socially necessary in the production of petroleum products. The chapter approaches oil fetishism by means of discourses around oil as the cause of wealth, poverty, democracy, authoritarianism, war, and peace—all of which are discursive expressions of social and ecological relations. This approach to oil and power considers the wider geographies of social relations, lived practices, and meanings through which oil is objectified as a vital and strategic “thing.”

Keywords:   commodity fetishism, commodity chain analysis, oil fetishism, social-ecological relations

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