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Andrew Barry

The Territory of Transparency: Oil and Politics in the South Caucasus

CAS Public Colloquium | Tuesday, 16 April 2013  | 05:00 pm
Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2013  | 05:00 pm - 07:00 pm
Speaker: Andrew Barry  (University of Oxford, UK)
Location: Centre for Area Studies | Thomaskirchhof 20 | 04109 Leipzig
Organization: Centre for Area Studies (U Leipzig, Germany)


In recent years the principle of transparency has assumed a critical place in the discourse of transnational governance in general, and the governance of the oil industry in particular. The implementation of transparency, it is expected, will both promote good governance and reduce the level of conflict surrounding the operations of the oil industry. In this paper, I contrast the performance of two remarkable experiments in oil industry transparency implemented in the South Caucasus. These are the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline project. The performance of transparency, I argue, can lead to the formation new territories of transnational governance, but it also establishes a surface on which disputes can foment.


Biographical Note:

Andrew Barry joined the School of Geography and the Environment in January 2006. Andrew studied Natural Sciences and the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University and subsequently completed a D.Phil. at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. Andrew’s research interests span political and economic geography, social and anthropological theory, and science and technology studies. He has recently completed two empirical research projects. One, Social and Human Rights Impact Assessment and the Governance of Technology, is a study of the politics of corporate social responsibility and transparency in the oil industry. This project relates to a broader interest in the role of expertise in political and economic life, developing from his earlier book, Political Machines: Governing a Technological Society (Athlone Press 2001). Following on from this project, he has established a School of Geography and the Environment Oil Research Group and is developing a series of further projects on the governance and politics of oil. He has a particular interest in research in Turkey, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and was co-organiser (with Meltem Ahiska and Yael Navaro-Yashin) of a conference on ‘Thinking through Turkey’, held in Cambridge University in June 2007.