Oppressive energopolitics in Africa’s last colony: energy, subjectivities and resistance

Joanna Allan*, Mahmoud Lemaadel, Hamza Lakhal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Focusing on energy developments and energy infrastructure in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, this article engages with the politics of energy and energy citizenship in situations of conflict, authoritarianism and settler colonialism. We contribute to the body of research on how energy infrastructure, including renewable energy infrastructure, furthers (neo)colonial social and political power imbalances. Using Dominic Boyer’s concept of energopower, which allows us to explore how energy is used to govern populations and produce subjectivities, we argue that a colonial and oppressive energoregime will produce subjects hostile to itself. Putting colonised people’s lived experiences and perceptions of an oppressive energy system centre stage, we further research on the interrelationship between energy infrastructure, citizenship and identity by showing how an energoregime can inadvertently foster a rejection of certain citizenships and national identities in favour of others. Our data are generated using ethnography and semi-structured interviews with Saharawis living in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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