Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-economics of Oil and Gas

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9780745331171: Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-economics of Oil and Gas
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The impact of the oil and gas industry - paradoxically seen both as a blessing and a curse on socio-economic development - is a question at the heart of the comparative studies in this volume stretching from Northern Europe to the Caucasus, the Gulf of Guinea to Latin America. Britain's transformation under Margaret Thatcher into a supposedly post-industrial society orientated towards consumer sovereignty was paid for with revenues from the North Sea oil industry, an industry conveniently out of sight and out of mind for many. Drawing on bottom-up research and theoretical reflection the authors question the political and scientific basis of current international policy that aims to address the problem of resource management through standard Western models of economic governance, institution building and national sovereignty. This book offers valuable material for students and researchers concerned with politics, inequality and poverty in resource-rich countries. Among the key critical issues the book highlights is the need to understand the politics of social territorialism as a response to exclusionary geopolitics.

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Review:

In their important book, McNeish and Logan take issue with conventional wisdom by reading the varied experiences of petro-states in the northern and southern hemispheres against one another to explode the overly simplified sense of good and bad oil governance. At the heart of these empirically rich and conceptually innovative contributions is a sensitivity to the intersection of petro-state power with territoriality and forms of sovereignty, a heady mix of forces which can produce inflammable political outcomes. Flammable Societies unsettles the field of oil studies by fusing visual, textual, historical and ethnographic approaches into a powerful whole. A path-breaking book. (Michael Watts, Class of 63 Professor, University of California, Berkeley)

This collection offers fresh insights into the social relations of communities in which oil and gas are produced – from Scotland to Russia and Nigeria – and of resistance to oil-fuelled power. It challenges lazy, catch-all concepts about oil-producing economies and raises the standard of academic debate. (Simon Pirani, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and author of Change in Putin’s Russia)

A much-needed and compelling intervention ... reaches beyond the ‘resource curse’ to explore the incendiary problematic of overlapping and contested ‘resource sovereignties.’ Deftly capturing the complexity of hydrocarbon conflicts, this book analyzes crude extraction’s multiple conditions of possibility to think anew one of the more vexing concerns of our time: what might resource governance look like otherwise? (Suzana Sawyer, University of California, Davis, author of "Crude Chronicles" (2004) and co-editor of "The Politics of Resource Extraction" (2012))

About the Author:

John-Andrew McNeish is Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Senior Researcher at the Chr. Michelsens Institute. He is the project leader of the Norwegian Research Council funded project 'Flammable Societies: The Role of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Promotion of Poverty Reduction and Social Volatility' on which the book Flammable Societies is based.

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