My research trajectory has taken me from Turkish fisheries, through management of European seas, to environmental conflict in Turkey and most recently to Norwegian corporations’ engagement with corporate social responsibility when they work abroad. Recent and planned research focuses on the role of transnational energy corporations and explores tensions between responsibility and financial logics as this is negotiated at the interface between corporations, states, international institutions, civil society, and local communities. Current research interests relate in particular to corporations and their engagement with the sustainable development goals and environmental and social governance.
While my recent work has concentrated on Norwegian corporations, previous work since the early 1990s has been based on long-term fieldwork (more than two years) among fishers, managers, and scientists in Turkey. Situated broadly within environmental anthropology and political ecology, this research covered issues such as knowledge, technology, science, seafood and consumption, introduced species, state policies, poverty, common pool resources, environmentalism, and corporate social responsibility. Running through all this work is the vexing issue of identities.
Between 2004 and 2013 I was involved in interdisciplinary EU-funded work related to the management of European seas, and from 2015-2019 headed the project Energethics that explored how Norwegian energy corporations handle corporate social responsibility when they operate abroad. My publications include the monography Fisheries in Moderinizing Turkey (Berghahn 2009) and around 30 articles, of which I am sole or lead author of most, and most of which have appeared in peer-reviewed international journals. I was head of the Department of Social Anthropology at UiB from 2014 until 2021.
Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Knudsen, Ståle (2009) Fishers and Scientists in Modern Turkey. The Management of natural Resources, Knowledge and Identity on the Eastern Black Sea Coast. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Knudsen, S. (2023) 'Critical realism in political ecology: An argument against flat ontology'. Journal of Political Ecology 30(1): 1-22. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.5127
Knudsen, S., D. Rajak, S. Lange and I. Hugøy (2020) 'Bringing the state back in. Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of Norwegian state capitalism in the international energy sector', in Theme section (eds. S. Knudsen and D. Rajak) 'Corporate social responsibilityand the paradoxes of state capitalism'. Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (88): 1-21.
Knudsen, S., I.B. Müftüoğlu, and I. Hugøy (2020) 'Standardizing responsibility through the stakeholder figure. Norwegian hydropower in Turkey', in Theme section (eds. S. Knudsen and D. Rajak) 'Corporate social responsibilityand the paradoxes of state capitalism'. Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology (88): 58-75.
Müftüoğlu, I.B., S. Knudsen, R.F. Dale, O. Eiken, D. Rajak, S. Lange (2018) 'Rethinking access: Key methodological challenges in studying energy companies'. Energy Research & Social Science 45 (November): 250-257.
Knudsen, Ståle (2018) 'Is Corporate Social Responsibility Oiling the Neoliberal Carbon Economy?'. Ethnos 83(3): 502-520.
Knudsen, Ståle (2016) 'Protests Against Energy Projects in Turkey: Environmental Activism Above Politics?'. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 43(3): 302-323.
Knudsen, Ståle (2015) 'Corporate Social Responsibility in Local Context: International capital, charitable giving and the politics of education in Turkey'. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 15(3): 369-390.
O'Higgins, T., A. Farmer, G. Daskalov, S. Knudsen, and L. Mee (2014) 'Achieving good environmental status in the Black Sea: scale mismatches in environmental management'. Ecology and Society 19(3): 54.
Knudsen, Ståle (2014) 'Is Escobar’s Territories of Difference good political ecology? On anthropological engagements with environmental social movements'. Review article with response from Escobar. Social Analysis 48(2): 78-107.
Knudsen, Ståle (2014) 'Multiple sea snails The uncertain becoming of an alien species'. Anthropological Quarterly 87(1): 59-92.
Ron Janssen, Ståle Knudsen, Valentina Todorova and Ayşe Gündüz Hoşgör (2014) 'Managing Rapana in the Black Sea: stakeholder workshops on both sides'. Ocean & Coastal Management, 87(January): 75-87.
A. Ulman, S. Bekisoglu, M.A Zengin, S. Knudsen, V. Unal, C. Mathevs, S. Harper, D. Zeller, and D. Pauly (2013) 'From bonito to anchovy: a reconstruction of Turkey’s marine fisheries catches (1950-2010)'. Mediterranean Marine Science, 14(2): 309-342.
Knudsen, Ståle, Mustafa Zengin and Mahmut Hakan Koçak (2010) 'Identifying drivers for fishing pressure. A multidisciplinary study of trawl and sea snail fisheries in Samsun, Black Sea coast of Turkey'. Ocean and Coastal Management, 53(5-6): 252-269.
Olivia Langmead, Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, Laurence D. Mee, Jana Friedrich, Alison J. Gilbert, Marian-Traian Gomoiu, Emma L. Jacksona, Ståle Knudsen, Galina Minicheva and Valentina Todorova (2009) 'Recovery or decline of the northwestern Black Sea: A societal choice revealed by socio-ecological modelling'. Ecological modelling, 220(21): 2927-2939.
Knudsen, Ståle and Hege Toje (2008) 'Post-soviet transformations in Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea fisheries. Socio-economic dynamics and property relations’. Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 8(1): 17-32.
Knudsen, Ståle (2008) 'Ethical know-how and traditional ecological knowledge in small scale fisheries on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey'. Human Ecology – An Interdisciplinary Journal, 36(1): 29-41.
Knudsen, Ståle (2006). 'Between Life Giver and Leisure. Identity Negotiantion through Seafood in Turkey'. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 38(3).
Knudsen, Ståle (2004) 'From Tax to Proteins. State Fishery Policy and the Disregard of Tradition in Turkey'. Middle Eastern Studies, 40(5).
Knudsen, Ståle (2003) 'Situating Technology. Confrontations over the use of sonar among Turkish fishermen and marine scientists'. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 2(2).
Knudsen, Ståle (2003) 'Black Sea Fishery Management; from Ignorance to Politics'. Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 3(1).
Knudsen, Ståle (1995) 'Fisheries along the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey: informal resource management in small-scale fishing in the shadow of a dominant capitalist fishery'. Human Organization, winter 1995.
Chapters in anthologies
Ståle Knudsen, Dinah Rajak, Siri Lange, and Isabelle Hugøy (2023). 'Introduction'. In Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Ingrid Birce Müftüoğlu, Ståle Knudsen, Ragnhild Freng Dale,Oda Eiken Maraire, Dinah Rajak, and Siri Lange (2023). 'Rethinking Access. Key Methodological Challenges in Studying Energy Companies'. In Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2023. 'Model of a Model: Norsk Hydro at Home and Abroad'. In Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Ståle Knudsen, Ingrid Birce Müftüoğlu, and Isabelle Hugøy (2023) 'Standardizing Responsibility Through the Stakeholder Figure: Norwegian Hydropower in Turkey'. In Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
2023. 'Conclusion: Inactive State Ownership and the Nordic Model Recast as “Values”'. In Knudsen, Ståle (ed.) (2023) Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism. Ethnographies of Norwegian energy and extraction businesses abroad. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Knudsen, Ståle (2015) 'Marine Governance in the Black Sea'. In Michael Gilek and Kristine Kern (eds.) Governing Europe’s Marine Environment. Europeanization of Regional Seas or Regionalization of EU Policies? Ashgate, 225-248.
Knudsen, Ståle and Hakan Mahmut Koçak (2011) 'Through Boom and Bust. Coping with Poverty in Sea Snail Fisheries on the Turkish Black Sea Coast'. In Svein Jentoft og Arne Eide (red.), Poverty mosaics. Realities and prospects in small-scale fisheries. Springer: London and New York, pp. 221-249.
Knudsen, Ståle (2007) 'A Comparative Overview of Academic Discourse on Indigenous Knowledge in the Middle East and Africa', in E. Boon og L. Hens (eds.) Indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable development: Relevance for Africa. Delhi: Kamla-Raj Enterprises.
Knudsen, Ståle (1999) 'What role for the Turkish Fishery co-operatives? Organisational preconditions for a new management regime in the Black Sea', in M.S. Celikkale, E. Duzgunes, I. Okumus and C. Mutlu (eds) The Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Fisheries and Ecology, 2-4 Sep. 1998, Trabzon/TURKEY.
2008. GFCM Black Sea programme:preliminary elements for a project framework. Rome: GFCM.
2007. [with W. Pelczarski W. and J. Brown] Joining the EU: The Impacts on Fisheries. Elme Project Deliverable 5.3. Plymouth, ELME (EU FP6 project 505576 2006), p. 42.
2006. [with M. Zengin and M.H. Kocak] A detailed report on the social and economic driving forces for each fishery to identify commonality in driving forces for the main fisheries in the regional seas of Europe. Elme Project Deliverable 5.2. Plymouth, ELME (EU FP6 project 505576.
2006. [with Hege Toje] Post-Soviet Transformations in Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea Fisheries: Socio-economic Dynamics and Property Relations. Bergen: University of Bergen.
1997. A comparative study of fishing communities and public awareness in Turkey and Ukraine. Social Assessment Studies of the Human Communities Particularly Affected by the Degradation of the Black Sea Ecosystem. Istanbul: Black Sea Environmental Programme.
KNOWSEAS - Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe's Seas (2009-2013).
POVFISH - Unravelling the Vicious Circle (2008-2010)
Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Livelihoods in Small-scale Fisheries (PovFish).
ELME - European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems (2004-2007).