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Globalization and the uneven application of international regulatory standard : the case of oil exploration in Nigeria



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This study examines how the uneven application of regulatory standards in oil exploration and extraction in Nigeria has exacerbated ethnic and class tensions and how the oil exploration activities have affected the individual and collective lives of the people in the Niger Delta region. Overall, the study links the individual and collective lives of Nigerians, particularly people in Obelle and Obagi communities to the political economy of global capital. Furthermore, the study explores how the expansion and activities of global capital necessarily create ethnic tension, class struggle, and gender inequality. In order to maintain the status quo, global capital creates structural inequalities that divide societies into hierarchies of the “rich” and the “poor.” The study also examines the strategies adopted by the people to ameliorate negative consequences of oil exploration in the communities.In this study, the researcher posits that there is a relationship between the uneven application of international and national regulations in oil production by MNCs and environmental degradation as well as the negative effect on people’s live and means of livelihood, resulting in competition for scarce resources, which in turn have exacerbated ethnic conflict between and among communities. Consequently, the main questions addressed in the study focus on if, how, and why globalization, carried out through the activities of MNCs, affects ethnic tension, class struggle, and gender inequality. In order to address the questions, a critical ethnographic paradigm was used to explore and explain the processes of globalization that affect the people’s lives and means of livelihood. Since this study’s focus is on a neglected population (Obelle and Obagi communities), a critical ethnographic paradigm was used to speak on behalf of the subjects as a means of empowering them by giving more authority to their voices. Consequently, this study has the possibility of not only speaking about the marginalization of the people of Obelle and Obagi communities and their livelihood but, also, speaking on their behalf in order to increase awareness of their present economic situation, aiming at the general improvement of their economic situation and quality of life. This study, therefore, provided the subjects an opportunity to articulate their economic problems and share their lived experiences in a region that has been devastated by the activities of oil MNCs. Data were collected and analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The specific methods used in data collection included in-depth interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Analysis of the data was done by employing a variety of methods that includes a combination of descriptive statistics based on cross-tabulation, analysis of themes that emerged from in-depth interviews, and Atlas.ti 5.0 qualitative analysis computer programme to show the relationship between variables that emerged from the study. The results obtained from the study support the hypothesis that the oil MNCs in Nigeria, in partnership with the Nigerian government, have engaged in a process of resource exploitation that has resulted in economic expropriation, political disenfranchisement, social dislocation, anomie and environmental devastation, of the people of the Niger Delta and Obagi/Obelle in particular.



Nigeria., political economy of global capitalism



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)






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