Director of the Visiting Fellows Programme
Anna Korhonen
Head of International Affairs
tel. +358-(0)50-563 63 07

Coordinator
Eeva Korteniemi
tel. +358-(0)50-4150 571

aleksanteri-fellows [at] helsinki.fi

Aleksanteri Institute
P.O.Box 42 (Unioninkatu 33)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Telephone: +358 (0) 2941 23544

aleksanteri [at] helsinki.fi
firstname.lastname [at] helsinki.fi

Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2012-2013

 

Institute

Arthur Mason, University of California, Berkeley, United States

“Assessing Intermediary Expertise in Russian Arctic Gas Development”
Fellowship period: May 1–June 30, 2013

Biography:
Arthur Mason is an arctic anthropologist focused on energy development in Western Canada, Alaska, and the Barents Sea region of Norway and Russia. His research and teaching interests include the daily life of arctic Indigenous peoples and the relationship between northern development, expertise, and energy globalization. Dr. Mason holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University (BA) and University of California at Berkeley (PhD) and is the recipient of two Fulbright Chair awards for arctic research (Canada and Norway). Professor Mason is co-founding organizer of the Association for Polar Early Career Scientists. His political appointments include Associate Director of Energy in the Office of the Alaska Governor in Washington D.C. Dr. Mason is Director of StudioPolar, a National Science Foundation initiative that examines the work of consultant expertise in stabilizing perspectives on arctic natural gas development. The research is a comparative study of North American(U.S. and Canada and European (Russia and Norway) interpretations of energy systems development. He teaches courses on institutions, energy, and community; science and technology studies; ecological modernization; energy politics and aesthetics. Arthur Mason is Visiting Assistant Professor, Energy and Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley.

Abstract of current research:
My research applies anthropological theories and methods to address forecasting, risk analysis, and other predictive technologies and forms of expertise that impact High North hydrocarbon development. I detail the communicative process by which scenarios become entrenched, but also opposed, in government and industry planning and I am working to develop a cooperative knowledge network of experts, actors, and coalitions in the areas of cultural politics and political economy of arctic energy development—consisting of the North American Arctic and Norwegian/Russian Arctic. The study intends to create an open exchange among scholars and experts who specialize in visualizing Arctic resources in ways that enable
policy change and potentially infrastructure as well. In Helsinki, I will carry out ethnographically grounded characterizations of the process by which expert descriptions are produced and communicated on Russian arctic natural gas development. Proposed activities include interviews with representatives of the Aleksanteri Institute and Fortum Corporation. I plan to focus on the strategies of translation, how knowledge is modified for example, and made public and private, the constant shuffling to and for between the outside world and the office that creates the pathways, content and context that influence the conditions of work and its rate of development. This includes first-hand experience documenting the construction of key products (statements, forecasts), how they are packaged (as press releases, powerpoint presentation, long reports), how different elements of knowledge are highlighted for different users (technical versus lay), and; the cycle used to bring different elements together for product creation (money, workforce, instruments, arguments, innovations).

Email: studiopolar [at] berkeley.edu
Personal website: http://studiopolar.com

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen and Markku Kivinen