Petrocultures is a research group at the University of Alberta (founded in 2011) whose aim is to support, produce, and distribute research related to the social, cultural and political implications of oil and energy use on individuals, communities, and societies around the world. University of Alberta researchers are situated in a prime location to observe, assess and analyze the multiple and complex impacts of the development and management of the oil industry and of energy more generally. The research activities and structures created by the Petrocultures Research Group will enhance and expand this research, and position the U of A at the forefront of a growing field of academic study.
Among the issues that Petrocultures plans to investigate are:
- labour in petrocultures (influx of temporary foreign workers, transient labour forces, the rights or lack thereof of labour, etc.)
- the composition of communities in historical and contemporary oil economies
- education in energy societies
- health (sex, drugs, addiction)
- the intersection of cultural and environmental issues (resource management, water and oil, etc.)
- Aboriginal cultures and societies (land and mineral rights, community safety, race in petrocultures, etc.)
- gender issues and women’s rights in male dominated labour markets
- politics and social-political life in petro-states
- and the impacts of all of these issues on forms of cultural production (art, literature, film, etc.) that attempt to represent and address the socio-cultural realities of living alongside oil technologies.
Petrocultures is also committed to addressing the questions and concerns raised by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s new Future Challenge Areas, specially the second challenge area: “What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?”