The Role of Labor in Transforming Nigerian Oil Politics

  • Andrew Lawrence


Although often assumed to support “oil curse” arguments, Nigerian political history shows that the oil economy can also be a site of successful contention and democratization—and moreover, that oil workers played a key role in these processes. Although struggling in a deeply unfavorable context of state fragmentation, chronic societal mistrust, corruption and lengthy, brutal military rule, at key junctures, oil workers are able to exercise leverage far beyond their numbers. After outlining the Nigerian oil industry’s political and social history, and the place of oil workers within it, this essay describes how these workers moved from a position of numerical and political weakness to one of increased political and social strength.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Lawrence
    • 1
  1. 1.Vienna School of International StudiesViennaAustria

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