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Fluid Land Values in Petro-Geographies: Temporality and Human-Nonhuman Relations in Ghana and Tanzania

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Otchere-Darko



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been accepted and is due to be published in its final definitive form by Sage Publications Ltd, 2024.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Land plays a central role in the explorations of value, embodying notions of use, exchange, common property, and deeply held beliefs. However, with the discovery of natural resources, land values become even more dynamic and imbricated beyond pre-existing notions. What can be learned about land values from resource extraction? Focusing on petro-geographies in Southwest Ghana and Tanzania’s Lindi-Mtwara, the current study calls attention to temporality and human-nonhuman relations within notions of land values and valuation processes. The research utilises a multi-method approach, grounding analysis in key expert interviews, policy documents, secondary research, and empirical data on land use and development statistics. It shows that, in Southwest Ghana, calls for subsistence and food security highlight the deepening linkages between land’s caloric use values and nature’s intrinsic values. Here, food security is not easily subsumed within instrumental use values but rather interlinked within the complex ecology of (un)polluted nature. In Lindi-Mtwara, calls for intergenerational sustenance re-valuate land’s exchange value as a flow of resources rather than a stock to be paid off. Here, social histories and future capabilities become key considerations in deliberations over the market value of lands. The research thus highlights the interdependencies, social relations, and temporalities of value triggered by resource extraction, the neglect of which often leads to conflict and loss.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Otchere-Darko W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: In Press

Journal: Environment and Planning F

Year: 2024

Acceptance date: 21/05/2024

Date deposited: 07/06/2024

ISSN (electronic): 2634-9825

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd