Energy anthropology network

Moving with Energy from Periphery to Center of Society

- Moving the attention of the anthropological gaze to energy also means moving ethnography from the margins to the center of society, Ståle Knudsen writes in a short paper published on the Energy Anthropology network website.

Ståle Knudsen

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Based on Ståle Knudsen earlier work on fishers, fishery management, introduced species, complemented with current research on energy and irrigation, he has started to sketch a discussion of neo-liberalism’s manifold impacts on the environment in Turkey.

- While fisheries and agriculture no longer play a central role to the Turkish political economy, energy has moved to its core. Energy is considered central to the working of society, and a major concern and focus of state policies, Knudsen writes. This means that the anthropological focus on energy moves ethnography from the margins to the center of society as well.

With this in mind, Knudsen suggests new research agendas for what the discipline of anthropology should focus on in studying energy - the inside of energy corporations, state regulatory bodies and comparative studies of infrastructure. This shift brings with it methodological challenges, Knudsen says, as the classical anthropological method of ‘hanging out’ with people over time will not always work.

Knudsen is currently leading the project Energethics, which addresses such issues of globalization and neoliberalization through the lense companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and on the different kinds of energy production accross the globe.

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