Power, Nature and Society: Contested Energy Discourses Across Interpretive Communities – The Case of Fracking

 

This research project aims to investigate the power dynamics in the growing and contentious 
field of energy, commonly known as fracking. No other social force is so fundamentally responsible 
for our current condition than the mechanisms of power. Power, defined as discourse, asserts the 
conditions for opportunities and constraints regarding life processes. It shapes the social field of action
by rendering some kinds of behavior possible and others less possible. 
Fracking – a controversial high pressure, water (and sometimes, chemical) based, horizontal 
drilling technique for removing oil and gas largely from shale – is engaged more and more across the 
globe. It is currently widespread in the media, on the political agenda of major countries around the 
world, and challenged by global anti-fracking protests. While the technological science on fracking has 
been advancing for decades, the current social science research on fracking is sparse and fraught with 
mixed, and often conflicting, results. This is why further research is urgently required to unravel the 
convolution of the presumed trichotomy between economic, socio-political, and environmental concerns 
that are driving the debate. What is evident across the literature on fracking, both scientific and 
otherwise, is that serious power dynamics are at play. Our project aims to take important steps towards 
filling this gap.

This research project aims to investigate the power dynamics in the growing and contentious field of energy, commonly known as fracking. No other social force is so fundamentally responsible for our current condition than the mechanisms of power. Power, defined as discourse, asserts the conditions for opportunities and constraints regarding life processes. It shapes the social field of action by rendering some kinds of behavior possible and others less possible. 

Fracking – a controversial high pressure, water (and sometimes, chemical) based, horizontal drilling technique for removing oil and gas largely from shale – is engaged more and more across the globe. It is currently widespread in the media, on the political agenda of major countries around the world, and challenged by global anti-fracking protests. While the technological science on fracking has been advancing for decades, the current social science research on fracking is sparse and fraught with mixed, and often conflicting, results. This is why further research is urgently required to unravel the convolution of the presumed trichotomy between economic, socio-political, and environmental concerns that are driving the debate. What is evident across the literature on fracking, both scientific and otherwise, is that serious power dynamics are at play. Our project aims to take important steps towards filling this gap.