Our Doctoral candidate, Sohvi Kangasluoma, had her first article published in the special issue of the Polar Record. The article, titled “Drilling for the future: Gendered justifications of the Arctic fossil fuel industry”, through feminist discussions explores how old and gas companies, Norwegian Equinor and Russian Gazprom & Gazprom Neft, try to create a compelling image of themselves on their webpages.
Despite the global alarm caused by accelerating climate change, hydrocarbon companies are exploring and opening up new oil and gas fields all over the world, including the Arctic. With increasing attention on the Arctic, companies address the growing global environmental pressure in their public marketing in various ways. This article examines the webpages of Norwegian Equinor and Russian Gazprom & Gazprom Neft. Building on feminist discussions, I analyse the different justification strategies these fossil fuel companies working in the Arctic utilise in order to support their ongoing operations. This article concludes that in order to justify their operations in the Arctic, the Norwegian and Russian companies emphasise values based on discourses that have historically and culturally been associated with masculine practices, such as the control of nature enabled by technology. These justifications are thus reinforcing the narrative of the Arctic as a territory to be conquered and mastered. Even though the companies operate in different sociopolitical contexts, the grounds of justification are rather similar. Their biggest differences occur in their visual presentations of gender, which I argue is part of the justification. Approaching the fossil fuel industry from a feminist perspective allows questioning the dominant conceptualisations, which the justifications of Arctic hydrocarbon companies are based on.
On 18-21st of may the annual scientific conference “Polar readings 2020. History of science research in the Arctic and the Antarctic” took part online. It was devoted to the centenary of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg and to the bicentenary of the Antarctic exploration. Our project AUCAM was presented at the conference by Nikolai Bobylev with a presentation by him, Alexander Sergunin, and Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen. The slides and main theses can be found from the conference website, and Bobylev’s can be watched on Youtube.
Our team is participating in the 51st Annual ASEEES Convention, held on 23-26 of November in San Francisco, USA.
On 23 November Dmitry Yagodin chaired a panel “Emergent Energies and their Intersection with State, Society and Culture in the Russian Arctic”. Stephanie Hitztaler presented there a paper “A Sustainable Yamal? A Critical Look at Corporate Social Responsibility and its Contribution to Short- and Long-Term Urban Vitality in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug” and Sohvi Kangasluoma talked about “Masculine Industry, Feminine Environment? A Gender-Based Look at Media Representations of Arctic Hydrocarbon Companies”.
Later that day Stephanie Hitztaler was chairing a panel “The Politics and Perception of Climate Change and Renewable Energy Discourse from the Russian Far North to Central Asia”. Dmitry Yagodin gave a talk about “Convenient Truth: The Roots of Climate Denial in the Official Discourse in Russia” and Hilma Salonen presented her paper “Is there Life after Fossil Fuels?”.
Sohvi Kangasluoma wrote an article for The Ulkopolitist online magazine with a title “Onko Suomesta feministisen arktisen ulkopolitiikan jäänsärkijäksi?” (Can Finland work as an icebreaker for a feminist Arctic policy?)
Sohvi Kangasluoma is a doctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki. In her doctoral dissertation she examines the Arctic oil and gas industry and its implications for human security through feminist theory. Her dissertation work is a part of AUCAM – “Opportunities for and challenges to urban development and social cohesion in Russia’s Arctic under climate change impacts” project.
In the article, Sohvi ponders whether Finland could pursue feminist Arctic policy, where safeguarding the rights of minorities and respect for environment are a precondition.The article can be read at The Ulkopolitist website.
Our research group is getting bigger than ever – we are glad to introduce you two new researchers who are starting to work in our group today. Please, meet doctoral student Francesco Durante and master student Lauri Lähteenmäki. Francesco has joined the AUCAM project, and Lauri will write his MA thesis for the Winland project.
This year our team has expended significantly – in addition to the new postdocs Alla and Dima, we also welcomed two doctoral students this summer, Karoliina Hurri and Sohvi Kangasluoma. Karollina is researching China’s geopolitical identity and climate change discourse in the global climate governance, and Sohvi is working in the AUCAM project. Let us introduce these two promising researchers to you.