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Accepted Paper:

The truth lies between the...fractures: voices and stories on fracking from Aotearoa New Zealand  
Anna Bettini (University of Calgary)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the social impacts and changes experienced by community members due to fracking operations in New Zealand. Through their stories, I report the feelings of uncertainty and confusion often associated with fracking, and discuss the future of energy in the region.

Paper long abstract:

Since 1989, Taranaki (New Zealand) has been home to a series of oil and gas explorations. Here international and national petrochemical companies have carried approximately 100 fracking activities in more than 39 different wells. These companies have established their presence, built their wells near houses and schools, shared the land with dairy farms and their cattle. Fracking has been seen as a controversial practice and community members and local activist groups have questioned its safety and the roles the local institutions play in protecting their health and environment. On the other hand, companies operating in the region have defended its use and the procedures applied to reduce impacts and risks to communities. Little to no ethnographic research has been conducted to understand the risks associated with this practice and the social and environmental impacts involved with it. Through my doctoral project, I have documented the voices and the changes people have been facing with this practice, by hearing from both sides of the story. Looking at the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and different members of communities closely depending on or linked to it can be of help to opening meaningful discussion on possible future scenarios and discuss potential social tensions caused by changes in a region dependent on oil and gas extraction, where recent government decisions are pushing toward a full transition to cleaner forms of energy away from fossil fuels.

Panel Speak17c
Who speaks for energy? Responsibility and authority in the ethnographies of energy in an era of anthropogenic climate change III
  Session 1 Friday 2 April, 2021, -