A14
Neoliberalization and the Ambivalent Role(s) of the State in Transnational Energy Companies

Convenors:
Ståle Knudsen (University of Bergen)
Dinah Rajak (Sussex University)
Start time:
Session slots:
0

Short abstract:

This panel aims to discuss comparatively how trans-national companies, the state and the neoliberal economic order are linked in complex ways in energy industries.

Long abstract:

Energy industries are considered central to the working of society and is therefore a major concern of state policies. Despite this, little ethnographic work has been conducted inside energy corporations or at the interface between states and corporations. An understanding of this is crucial as petroleum companies are to a larger degree state-owned than other companies. Investigating how different ownership models influence the way in which companies operate internationally, opens up for discussing tensions between neoliberal dynamics and various models for company-state-society interaction. Tracking the production, circulation, reformulation and outcomes of energy companies' strategies and practices as they move from sites of formal policy-making to sites of implementation in different locations worldwide, can broaden understandings of how corporations variously work with, against or through the state. We will raise questions concerning how ownership structures and state policies influence the approaches that energy companies have to social and environmental responsibilities. How are relations between the corporate world and the state negotiated and enacted, especially when the energy corporation moves abroad but the state stays behind? What is the effect of corporations relating to the emerging global regime of performance standards and reporting mechanisms? This panel welcomes researchers with interest in state-owned energy companies or relations between companies and the state. We invite papers that investigate issues related to, though not limited to: sustainability, human rights, labour unions, CSR, neoliberalization, international standards, and infrastructure.