Like Oil and Water, with a Match: Militarized Commerce, Armed Conflict and Human Security in Sudan


Macklin, Audrey. 2004. “Like Oil and Water, with a Match: Militarized Commerce, Armed Conflict and Human Security in Sudan.” In Sites of Violence: Gender and Conflict Zones, edited by Wenona Mary Giles and Jennifer Hyndman, 75-107. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Author: Audrey Macklin


This article examines the gendered reverberations of global capital investment in a conflict zone, from the north with armed conflict in the south. Specifically, the article examines the author’s experience as a member of an independent assessment mission to Sudan appointed by the Canadian government. The team’s mandate was to investigate the link between oil development and human rights violations with particular reference to the Canadian oil company Talisman. In 1998 Talisman acquired a 25% share in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC). North and South Sudan had been embroiled in an armed civil conflict almost continuously since 1956 and the oil fields were located on contested territory. This article contrasts the idea of human security (advanced as part of Canada’s foreign policy agenda at the time), with traditional conceptions of military and corporate security, using the experience of Sudanese women affected by the conflict as a way of illustrating the incongruities between competing understandings of security. It concludes that the presence of Talisman in Sudan encouraged the prioritization of corporate and military security over human security, exacerbating the human rights violations and perpetuating the struggle of women. Finally, this article evaluates strategies used by different stakeholders to encourage the Canadian company to take responsibility for its role in human rights violations.

(Abstract from Social Science Research Network)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Militarization, Political Economies, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2004

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