Dr Arthur  Mason

Dr Arthur Mason

Visiting Senior fellow

Department of Anthropology

English, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish
Key Expertise
Global North

About me

I am a political anthropologist specializing in the study of Energy security and ecological vulnerability in the Global North; Energy aesthetics and futurity; and Adverse impacts of climate change for land and marine ecosystems, as well as local ways of life. I have been conducting fieldwork in the Global North for two decades, and have worked with energy consultants, U.S. political leaders, lobbyists, and community representatives across the Arctic. My publications focus on the anthropologies of extractive industry, futurity, and expertise, linked to STS-related genealogies. I hold a permanent position as Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  

I am completing a book manuscript titled Energy Image: Hydrocarbon Aesthetics of Progress and Form which draws on affective imagery to convey ideas on the formation of energy planning associated with the modern integrated hydrocarbon energy system and its contradictions. I edited two volumes titled Arctic Abstractive Industry: Assembling the Valuable and Vulnerable North (Berghahn 2022) and Subterranean Estates: Life Worlds of Oil and Gas (Cornell 2016) both of which bring together diverse engagements with natural resource extraction and ecological vulnerability.   

My forthcoming book manuscript titled Energy Capitol: The Waning of Regulatory Form (Routledge 2024) employs perspectives from anthropology, political science, and sociology to explore the waning of regulatory politics surrounding large-scale energy systems in the United States at the turn of the millennium. Ethnography gathered at the Alaska State Legislature and in the Office of the Alaska Governor in Washington DC focuses on plans for building a 20-billion-dollar 3,500-mile pipeline to transport natural gas from the Arctic to midcontinental markets in the United States. By illuminating key aspects of federal-state political decision-making processes on energy transportation infrastructure, Energy Capitol highlights the activities of economists, lawyers, and other regulatory intellectuals whose accumulated work begins to impede pipeline proposals by a reliance on judgments that no longer reflect the conditions in which large-scale projects are increasingly determined. Thus, the waning of regulatory politics reflects the diverse feelings and practices associated with a culture of power whose decaying relevance increasingly lingers as an echo of earlier rationalizing principles. 

Expertise Details

Energy Politics; The Anthropocene; Event Ethnography; Cultures of Expertise; Arctic Late Industrialism.