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Flammable Societies: The Role of Oil and Gas Industry in the Promotion of Poverty Reduction and Social Volatility

Through the development of a series of comparative case studies in present-day Latin America, Africa, Europe and the former Soviet Union we propose to explore the way in which the current concerns for social responsibility in the international oil and gas industry are transferred into concrete sub and national level development initiatives, as well as the results of these projects on local communities that neighbor and are dependent on the oil and gas industry. Agreement now exists amongst oil companies a nd governments that social responsibility depends on the introduction of strict governmental measures aimed at transparency and anti-corruption, but there remains little concern and knowledge about how best to avoid, or make up for, negative social and en vironmental impacts at the local level. We aim to study (ethnographically and qualitatively) the way in which knowledge and technology are transferred and controlled between different levels, how international policy contributes or inhibits the strength ening of transparency and governance of local and national institutions, and the tangible contributions this makes, or fails to make, to the improvement of local conditions of development and poverty reduction.The project aims to study how the common ex ample of conflict from oil can be avoided, and to further identify and discuss the cases and circumstances where this has been possible. Recognition of the resource curse is not a claim that natural resource abundance is always or inevitably bad for econo mic growth and development. On the contrary, there are powerful historical examples of successful resource-based development in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. It might be argued that the country case-studies chosen for this project represent the extremes of success and failure in this sense. The intent of this project is to question and explain the empirical basis of these judgments through qualitative and innovative multi-level field research.

John-Andrew McNeish
Norge - Global partner
01.01.2008 - 28.02.2012
Samfunnsvitenskap/Tverr flerfag. innen samf.vit.