Palm oil tensions

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2011 Number 74

Palm oil tensions
Danielle Gallegos pages -


This essay follows the fortunes of palm oil as it circulates in a variety of physical, global locations as well as in the discursive environments that characterise it and inform consumers about its properties. Such is the contested nature of palm oil that it is simultaneously ‘deadly’ and ‘life-saving’ depending on where you are in the world and what discursive regimes are accompanying your contact with it. Dominant western discourses about nutrition and environment have stressed the negative characteristics of the oil and its production; African and Asian discourses have emphasised its environmental sustainability and its health benefits. Such contexts have material affects. In the case of West Africans migrating to Australia it means that palm oil is hard to come by and is freighted with negative health and environment associations: at the same time it remains the core cultural foundation for making African home- away-from-home. The essay tries to imagine a discourse of health and environment that could be flexible enough to take account of the identity and home work that provides the necessary care for migrants.

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To cite this article
Danielle Gallegos (2011) Palm oil tensions, New Formations, 2011(74), -

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