Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The New Mobilization from Below: Women's Oil Protests in the Niger Delta, Nigeria
by Strutton, Laine, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 265; 3685916
Abstract (Summary)

Since the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta in 1958, there has been an ongoing low-level conflict among foreign oil companies, the federal government, and rural community members in southern Nigeria. Armed insurgents and small cadres of male protesters have resisted oil activities, demanding environmental cleanup, employment, and local compensation for extractive operations. In 2002, however, large groups of women began engaging in peaceful protests against oil companies and the state, making the same demands as men. Current work describes these women as coming together autonomously to assert their rights in the face of corporation exploitation. This project challenges such accounts and investigates how common perceptions of law and politics inform women's role in the oil reform movement.

Employing constructivist grounded theory, this dissertation argues that women's protests were largely a product of local elite male politicking among oil companies and federal and state governments. The first finding is that local chiefs, acting as brokers engaging in "positional arbitrage," compel women to protest because it reinforces their own traditional rule. In this sense, women have not implemented new tactics in the movement but instead are the new tactics. Secondly, Niger Delta women see law as innately good but identify individuals as the corrupting force that thwarts law's potential for positive change. Women also perceive a binary between local and state law, thus allowing chiefs to act as gatekeepers between women and the state. As a qualitative case study, the project uses in-depth interviews, direct observations, and archival documentation to analyze a series of all-female demonstrations that occurred around oil extraction sites in Rivers State from 2002-2012. Ultimately, these findings welcome a more critical look at social movements by identifying ways in which apparent episodes of resistance may actually be reconfigurations of existing power arrangements.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Harrington, Christine B.
Commitee: Goodwin, Jeff, Merry, Sally E.
School: New York University
Department: Law and Society Program
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: African Studies, Law, Womens studies
Keywords: African law, Chieftaincy, Niger delta, Oil, Social movement
Publication Number: 3685916
ISBN: 9781321624793
Copyright © 2019 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Cookie Policy
ProQuest