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Chapter: 'Introduction' from book: Public Brainpower: Civil Society and Natural Resource Management (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9783319606262 9783319606279 Year: Pages: 22 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60627-9 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-30 16:49:01
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This introductory chapter establishes the analytical framework for the edited volume. The literature on the resource curse and institutions is briefly discussed, along with the work on civil society and the public sphere by Almond and Verba, Dahl, Habermas and Putnam. Drawing on these classics, the theoretical concept of ‘public brainpower’ is formulated. The main pillar of public brainpower is polycentricity, or the coexistence of many different public actors freely expressing their thoughts: individual citizens, political parties, trade unions, charities, companies, research institutes, religious institutions, mass media and government institutions. The more polycentric a society is, the greater is its brainpower: its memory becomes more comprehensive and multifaceted, different actors can perform quality control of each other’s ideas and arguments, and it is more difficult to repress challenging views. Above all, a polycentric society has a broader base for creativity. The greater the public brainpower of a society, the better its management of natural resources. Finally, the book's 18 case studies of oil- and gas-producing countries are briefly presented, along with the methodology and definitions of key terminology used throughout the volume.

Chapter: 'Norway: Public Debate and the Management of Petroleum Resources and Revenues' from book: Public Brainpower: Civil Society and Natural Resource Management (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9783319606262 9783319606279 Year: Pages: 28 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60627-9_13 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-30 16:54:11
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This chapter assesses the importance of civil society involvement and public debate for Norwegian petroleum governance. It finds that during the early years of the country’s oil and gas development, the most important choices were made by a small number of decision-makers in government with little input from the rest of society. The attitude of government officials was therefore decisive for Norway’s early successes. During the two first decades of Norway’s petroleum era, also economists at the Ministry of Finance, the Norwegian School of Economics, Statistics Norway and the University of Oslo played important roles. One of the greatest successes of Norwegian oil and gas governance, the sovereign wealth fund, was created by technocrats in interaction with politicians. However, over time, and in a way similar to the Netherlands, civil society and public debate came to play more influential roles. What characterizes contemporary Norwegian petroleum governance is that it has many legs to stand on: an active and diverse civil society, free and diverse media, many political parties representing differing interests, numerous institutions of research and higher education and, importantly, a strong technocracy inside and outside government. In combination, these legs provide for both reliability and dynamism as Norwegian petroleum governance evolves. Finally, a key aspect of Norway’s Nordic model is constant compromise—which is difficult to achieve in more polarized societies.

Chapter: 'Kazakhstan: Civil Society and Natural Resource Policy in Kazakhstan' from book: Public Brainpower: Civil Society and Natural Resource Management (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9783319606262 9783319606279 Year: Pages: 19 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60627-9_9 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-30 16:57:32
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In Kazakhstan, civil society is held back and has had a limited role in the management of the petroleum sector. As this chapter notes, civil society has had little experience of promoting its own interests vis-à-vis the state, and public discussion of natural resource issues has been mainly government-driven. The fact that Kazakhstan made a notable step forward—from being a collapsing socialist economy in the 1990s to becoming a regional economic player with improved social and economic performance—has helped to legitimize non-transparent natural resource policies. As long as the socio-economic situation continues to improve or remains stable, the non-transparent management of natural resources is likely to be accepted by the population, which, like the Russian population, puts a premium on stability. The relative passivity of civil society has been compensated by Kazakhstan’s exposure to international initiatives and organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and numerous UN agencies. As in Azerbaijan, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has provided a platform for some civil society engagement with industry and government.

Chapter: 'Russia: Public Debate and the Petroleum Sector' from book: Public Brainpower: Civil Society and Natural Resource Management (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9783319606262 9783319606279 Year: Pages: 28 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60627-9_15 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Political Science
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-30 17:00:32
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In Russia, civil society engagement with the petroleum sector is surprisingly rich and varied for a country that is ranked low on most democracy-related indicators. This chapter finds that there is a lively and varied public debate, with business associations, research institutes, independent experts, indigenous organizations and the few surviving independent media actively and often competently analysing and commenting on a broad range of issues related to the oil and gas sector. Russians were early users of social media, which occasionally also function as a platform for discussion of petroleum-policy issues. However, the real impact of civil society on decision-making and policy formulation in the petroleum sector is not as great as the diversity of actors and discussion might imply. One key reason is the tight government control over mainstream media outlets. The situation for free speech and civil society worsened steadily from around 2004 to 2016. As in neighbouring Kazakhstan, the Russian population puts a high premium on stability over freedom. While a central concern in this book is whether the media and civil society have any influence on the petroleum sector, in Russia the paradoxical situation is that the relationship is often reversed: the gas company Gazprom, rather than another organizational vehicle, is used by the government to control key mass media, and the oil company Yukos played a central role in promoting civil society until its main owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested and the company was carved up.

Actor-network theory and the empirical critique of environmental law: unpacking the bioprospecting debates (Book chapter)

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ISBN: 9781784712563 9781784712570 Year: Pages: 24 DOI: 10.4337/9781784712570.00010 Language: English
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
Subject: Environmental Sciences --- Law --- Anthropology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-03-22 10:32:41
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In recent years, actor-network theory (ANT), and the work of Bruno Latour in particular, have gained significant interest amongst legal scholars. This approach, derived from Science and Technology Studies (STS) and bearing various links with anthropology and ethnographic methods, has enabled new insights to emerge in relation to the ways in which law operates in everyday practices. The innovative position the approach suggests has been largely based on the breaking down of the dichotomy between nature and society, humans and non-humans, and in turn on an emphasis on the importance of materiality in social practices (and its complexity). In his early work, Bruno Latour therefore laid out the foundations of what was to become a radical rethink of sociological assumptions, by challenging the extent to which humanity can ever be imagined as being fundamentally separate from nature. Consequently, he argued that some of the most fundamental assumptions of modernity, about how knowledge is made, societies are built, and humans can relate to their environment, are mistaken and in need of revisiting. Given its deep engagement with our relationship with nature, and its grounding in the sociology of science, it is somehow surprising that ANT has not been more frequently explored in environmental law – in spite of a few examples. However, more resources are available to those wanting to imagine what an ‘ANT approach to environmental law’ may look like, if engaging with STS and the anthropology of science literature that has in recent years aimed to unpack some of the legal stories that surround environmental practices. In this chapter, I seek to bring together some of this scholarship to reflect on what ANT can bring to environmental law research. The chapter is illustrated specifically with the example of the use of natural resources for industrial purposes, and the long-standing debates on ‘biopiracy’ that have animated much legal debate since the 1990s. Through this example, I retrace the difficulty for modern environmental law to engage with practices that challenge the boundaries between nature and humanity, and the dichotomies on which law has so far operated. I explore how studies that have embraced some of the more radical claims of ANT and STS, and engaged ethnographic analyses of social practices, have illustrated how law often fails to seize the messiness of the entanglement of nature and society. I conclude by discussing how ANT, and the work of Bruno Latour, can be used more broadly by environmental lawyers seeking to reimagine the ways in which law relates to nature.

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