Institutt for sosialantropologi
master's thesis

“Problem or Resource?” - An anthropological journey through, and with, oil -


Master's thesis submitted at Department of Social Anthropology, spring 2022.

By: Robin Thorén
Supervisor: Professor Cecilie Ødegaard

This thesis explores narratives in and around the Norwegian oil industry, with a particular focus on the industrial park in Mongstad and based on multi-sited methods, brief ethnographic fieldwork stints as well as digital correspondence. More specifically, the thesis examines how the establishment of the industrial park has affected and changed the lives and livelihoods, neighborhoods and local environments in Mongstad, including the ways in which narratives of oil as Progress are being re-negotiated in the context of climate crisis. The thesis pays particular attention to discussions of the materiality and fundamental “leakiness” of oil to address subjects concerning an imagined future, environmentalism, and capitalism. Because of the modest amount of ethnographic data collected during the short stints of fieldwork the author decided to include autoethnographic accounts to tie it all together.