Lonely Minds: Natural Resource Governance Without Input from Society

  • Indra Overland


This concluding chapter draws together the threads from the 18 case studies of oil- and gas-producing countries, relating them to the theoretical concept of ‘public brainpower’ and the arguments presented in the introductory chapter. It elaborates on the concept of public brainpower, adding important caveats related to some possible detrimental effects of public debate: volatility, polarization, populism and mock democracy. Ten tenets on how to achieve public brainpower are formulated, and a ranking of the public brainpower of 33 resource-rich countries is presented. The chapter rounds off with suggestions for further research.


Natural resources Oil Gas Petroleum governance Civil society Public brainpower Ranking Populism Technocracy Norms Polarization Hybrid regimes DemocracyMock democracy Ranking 


  1. Asdal, Kristin. 2014. From Climate Issue to Oil Issue: Offices of Public Administration, Versions of Economics, and the Ordinary Technologies of Politics. Environment and Planning A 46 (9): 2110–2124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barndt, William. 2010. Executive Assaults and the Social Foundations of Democracy in Ecuador. Latin American Politics and Society 52 (1): 121–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barr, Stewart, and Justin Pollard. 2017. Geographies of Transition: Narrating Environmental Activism in an Age of Climate Change and Peak Oil. Environment and Planning A 49 (1): 47–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bates, Elizabeth Stubbins. 2015. Sophisticated Constructivism in Human Rights Compliance. The European Journal of International Law 25 (4): 1169–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bebbington, Anthony. 2013. Natural Resource Extraction and the Possibilities of Inclusive Development: Politics across Space and Time. ESID Working Paper 21. Accessed on 25 October 2016.
  6. Blackburn, Matthew. 2016. Systemic and Non-Systemic Opposition in the Russian Federation: Civil Society Awakens? Europe–Asia Studies 68 (6): 1077–1078.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Breton, Michele, and Hossein Mirzapour. 2016. Welfare Implication of Reforming Energy Consumption Subsidies. Energy Policy 98: 232–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cross, Ester, and Jason Sorens. 2016. Arab Spring Constitution-Making: Polarization, Exclusion and Constraints. Democratization 23 (7): 1292–1312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dansie, Grant, Marc Lanteigne, and Indra Overland. 2010. Reducing Energy Subsidies in Russia, China and India: Dilemmas for Decision-Makers. Sustainability 2 (2): 475–493.Google Scholar
  10. Diamond, L. 2002. Elections without Democracy: Thinking about Hybrid Regimes. Journal of Democracy 13 (2): 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Drazkiewicz-Grodzicka, Elzbieta. 2016. “State Bureaucrats” and “Those NGO People”: Promoting the Idea of Civil Society, Hindering the State. Critique of Anthropology 26 (4): 341–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fukuyama, Francis. 1989. The End of History? The National Interest. Summer: 3–18.Google Scholar
  13. Global Witness. 2013. Azerbaijan Anonymous: Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company and Why the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Needs to Go Further. Accessed on 5 February 2017.
  14. Gouldson, Andy, Angela Carpenter, and Stavros Afionis. 2014. An International Comparison of the Outcomes of Environmental Regulation. Environmental Research Letters 9 (7): 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hauge, Wenche. 2010. When Peace Prevails: The Management of Political Crisis in Ecuador, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Venezuela. Alternatives 35 (4): 469–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jaspal, Rusi, and Brigitte Nerlich. 2014. Fracking in the UK Press: Threat Dynamics in an Unfolding Debate. Public Understanding of Science 23 (3): 348–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Moene, Kalle. 2017. Ni seire av ti mulige. Dagens næringsliv. Accessed on 1 April 2017.
  18. Morales, A.J., J. Borondo, J.C. Losada, and R.M. Benito. 2015. Measuring Political Polarization: Twitter Shows the Two Sides of Venezuela. Chaos 25 (3): 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Obani, Pedi Chiemena, and Joyeeta Gupta. 2016. The Impact of Economic Recession on Climate Change: Eight Trends. Climate and Development 8 (3): 211–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Overland, Indra. 2010. Subsidies for Fossil Fuels and Climate and Climate Change: A Comparative Perspective. International Journal of Environmental Studies 67 (3): 273–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 2012. Slippery Slopes: Pitfalls for the Rulers of Resource-Rich States. In Challenges of the Caspian Resource Boom: Domestic Elites and Policy-Making, ed. Andreas Heinrich and Heiko Pleines, 35–45. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. ———. 2015. Future Petroleum Geopolitics: Consequences of Climate Policy and Unconventional Oil and Gas. In Handbook of Clean Energy Systems, ed. Jinyue Yan, 3517–3544. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 2016. Energy: The Missing Link in Globalization. Energy Research and Social Science 14: 122–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Overland, Indra, and Hilde Kutschera. 2012. Subsidised Energy and Hesitant Elites in Russia. In Flammable Societies: Studies on the Socio-Economics of Oil and Gas, ed. John-Andrew McNeish and Owen Logan, 201–218. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  25. Overland, Indra, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Heidi Kjaernet. 2010. The Resource Curse and Authoritarianism in the Caspian Petro-States. In Caspian Energy Politics: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, ed. Indra Overland, Heidi Kjaernet, and Andrea Kendall-Taylor, 1–11. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Papyrakis, Elissaios, Matthias Rieger, and Emma Gilberthorpe. 2017. Corruption and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Journal of Development Studies 53 (2): 295–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perlaviciute, Goda, Linda Steg, and Elisabeth Hoekstra. 2016. Is Shale Gas Development Perceived as Sustainable? Insights from Value-Driven Evaluations in the Netherlands. Energy Research and Social Science 20: 55–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Perreault, Tom, and Gabriela Valdivia. 2010. Hydrocarbons, Popular Protest and National Imaginaries: Ecuador and Bolivia in Comparative Context. Geoforum 41 (5): 689–699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pickering, Gary J. 2015. Head in the (Oil) Sand? Climate Change Scepticism in Canada. Environmental and Social Sciences 2 (2): 1–11.Google Scholar
  30. Ratelle, Jean-Francois, and Emil Aslan Souleimanov. 2016. A Perfect Counterinsurgency? Making Sense of Moscow’s Policy of Chechenisation. Europe–Asia Studies 68 (8): 1287–1314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ross, Cameron. 2015. State against Civil Society: Contentious Politics and the Non-Systemic Opposition in Russia. Europe–Asia Studies 67 (2): 171–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schedler, A. 2002. Elections without Democracy: The Menu of Manipulation. Journal of Democracy 13 (2): 36–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sequeira, Ana Rita, Mark McHenry, Angus Morrison-Saunders, Hudson Mtegha, and David Doepel. 2016. Is the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) Sufficient to Generate Transparency in Environmental Impact and Legacy Risks? The Zambian Minerals Sector. Journal of Cleaner Production 129: 427–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Siddig, Khalid, Angel Aguiar, Harald Grethe, Peter Minor, and Terrie Walmsley. 2014. Impacts of Removing Fuel Import Subsidies in Nigeria on Poverty. Energy Policy 69: 165–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stevens, Paul, and Evelyn Dietsche. 2008. Resource Curse: An Analysis of Causes, Experiences and Possible Ways Forward. Energy Policy 36: 56–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Toepfl, Florian. 2013. Making Sense of the News in a Hybrid Regime: How Young Russians Decode State TV and an Oppositional Blog. Journal of Communication 63 (2): 244–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tsani, Stella. 2015. On the Relationship between Resource Funds, Governance and Institutions: Evidence from Quantile Regression Analysis. Resources Policy 44: 94–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Van Alstine, James. 2014. Transparency in Resource Governance: The Pitfalls and Potential of “New Oil” in Sub-Saharan Africa. Global Environmental Politics 14 (1): 20–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Williams, Laurence, Phil Macnaghten, Richard Davies, and Sarah Curtis. 2017. Framing “Fracking”: Exploring Public Perceptions of Hydraulic Fracturing in the United Kingdom. Public Understanding of Science 26 (1): 89–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Indra Overland
    • 1
  1. 1.Head of the Energy ProgrammeNorwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)OsloNorway

Personalised recommendations