The Book Publishers Association of Alberta awarded Regime of Obstruction: How Corporate Power Blocks Energy Democracy the Scholarly & Academic Book of the Year award at the Alberta Book Publishing Awards in September 2022.

The book is available for purchase, free PDF download and free online reading.

From the publisher

Rapidly rising carbon emissions from the intense development of Western Canada’s fossil fuels continue to aggravate the global climate emergency and destabilize democratic structures. The urgency of the situation demands not only scholarly understanding, but effective action.

The Regime of Obstruction book cover pageRegime of Obstruction aims to make visible the complex connections between corporate power and the extraction and use of carbon energy. Edited by William Carroll, this rigorous collection presents research findings from the first three years of the seven-year, SSHRC-funded partnership, the Corporate Mapping Project. Anchored in sociological and political theory, this comprehensive volume provides hard data and empirical research that traces the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry through economics, politics, media, and higher education. Contributors demonstrate how corporations secure popular consent, and coopt, disorganize, or marginalize dissenting perspectives to position the fossil fuel industry as a national public good. They also investigate the difficult position of Indigenous communities who, while suffering the worst environmental and health impacts from carbon extraction, must fight for their land or participate in fossil capitalism to secure income and jobs. The volume concludes with a look at emergent forms of activism and resistance, spurred by the fact that a just energy transition is still feasible. This book provides essential context to the climate crisis and will transform discussions of energy democracy.

Contributions by Laurie Adkin, Angele Alook, Clifford Atleo, Emilia Belliveau-Thompson, John Bermingham, Paul Bowles, Gwendolyn Blue, Shannon Daub, Jessica Dempsey, Emily Eaton, Chuka Ejeckam, Simon Enoch, Nick Graham, Shane Gunster, Mark Hudson, Jouke Huizer, Ian Hussey, Emma Jackson, Michael Lang, James Lawson, Marc Lee, Fiona MacPhail, Alicia Massie, Kevin McCartney, Bob Neubauer, Eric Pineault, Lise Margaux Rajewicz, James Rowe, JP Sapinsky, Karena Shaw, and Zoe Yunker.

A remarkable volume that puts on display an impressive amount of empirical research—robust, rigorous, and multifaceted. The Corporate Mapping Project has clearly produced the kind of hard data on ownership structures and operations of capitalist class fractions that make it possible to see how power is actually wielded in the economy—and this is a rarity. Regime of Obstruction is a most important contribution to research and activism in the field of fossil fuels and climate change.

Andreas Malm, author of Fossil Capital

This exceptional collection has the data and theoretical analysis to lay bare a reality we too often ignore: the real climate culprits are the industries who own, control, and profit from fossil fuels.

Matthew T. Huber, author of Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital


Table of Contents

1. Introduction / William K. Carroll

Part 1. The Organization of Fossil Capital

2. Boom, Bust, and Consolidation: Corporate Restructuring in the Alberta Oil Sands / Ian Hussey, Éric Pineault, Emma Jackson, and Susan Cake

3. Lines of Work, Corridors of Power: Extraction, Obstruction, and Counter-obstruction along Fossil Fuel Production Networks / James Lawson

4. Landscapes of Risk: Financial Representations of Catastrophe / Mark Hudson

5. Who Owns Big Carbon? Mapping the Network of Corporate Ownership / William K. Carroll and Jouke Huijzer

6. Canada’s Fossil-Capital Elite: A Tangled Web of Corporate Power / William K. Carroll

Part 2. The Struggle for Hearts and Minds

7. Fossil Capital’s Reach into Civil Society: The Architecture of Climate Change Denialism / William K. Carroll, Nicolas Graham, Michael Lang, Kevin McCartney, and Zoë Yunker

8. “Our Oil”: Extractive Populism in Canadian Social Media / Shane Gunster, Bob Neubauer, John Bermingham, and Alicia Massie

9. Episodes in the New Climate Denialism / Shannon Daub, Gwendolyn Blue, Lise Rajewicz, and Zoë Yunker

10. “Doing Things Better Together”: Industry Capture of Climate Policy in British Columbia / Shannon Daub, Chuka Ejeckam, Nicolas Graham, and Zoë Yunker

11. Petro-universities and the Production of Knowledge for the Post-carbon Future / Laurie Adkin

12. The Oil Industry is Us: Hegemonic Community Economic Identity in Saskatchewan’s Oil Patch / Emily Eaton and Simon Enoch

13. Indigenous Gendered Experiences of Work in an Oil-Dependent, Rural Alberta Community / Angele Alook, Ian Hussey, and Nicole Hill

14. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Canada’s Carbon Economy and Indigenous Ambivalence / Clifford Atleo

Part 3. Resistance and Beyond

15. From Clean Growth to Climate Justice / Marc Lee

16. Flashpoints of Possibility: What Resistance Reveals About Pathways Towards Energy Transition / Kara Shaw

17. Toward a Typology of Fossil Fuel Flashpoints: The Potential for a Coalition Building / Fiona MacPhail and Paul Bowles

18. Fossil Fuel Divestment, Non-reformist Reforms and Anti-capitalist Strategy / Emilia Belliveau, James K. Rowe, and Jessica Dempsey

Conclusion: Prospects for Energy Democracy in the Face of Passive Revolution / William K. Carroll


Regime of Obstruction

Author: Corporate Mapping Project