Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Lecture: "Marine Resource Extraction: Oil Companies, Fishers and Scientists in Mexico and Beyond"

Tue, November 13, 2018 | Hackett Room, SRH 1.313

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Postdoctoral researcher Liina-Maija Quist presents a paper examining conflicts involved with technological and environmental unknowns of marine resource extraction, especially those related to oil exploration. The work draws on ethnographic collaborations and interviews with different actors in Mexico, Finland, and Sweden.

Debates about the risks of oil extraction concentrate on accidents such as spills and explosions while everyday consequences of noise-producing seismology, the technology for oil exploration, are more scantly discussed. Ocean noise as a disturbance to marine life has only recently become a field of study. Different from oil, which is easier to examine through visual and oleatory senses, seismology involves shock air waves, shot through water to track seafloor oil deposits. While some analyses suggest that oil exploration severely harms fish and other marine life, long-term impacts of oil exploration have not been extensively studied. 

In this paper, Quist examines small-scale fishers’, oil industry representatives’ and scientists’ diverging attempts to understand and govern potentially, but uncertainly, harmful consequences of marine oil exploration. The paper is the result of fieldwork and interviews with sea fishers, oil companies and marine scientists in Mexico, Sweden, and Finland in 2011–2018, and research collaboration with Professor Anja Nygren.


Liina-Maija Quist’s work is focused on the ethnographic research of marine environmental politics. In her PhD thesis in Development Studies, she examined a conflict over sea space between oil companies and small-scale fishers in Tabasco, Mexico, in the context of the oil industry’s privatization. She analyzed the politico-legal securitization of environmental governance mechanisms and a related fragmentation of fishers’ political struggles over marine resource access, environmental knowledge and seafaring identity in the Gulf of Mexico. Quist’s current postdoctoral research focuses on the politics and science around emerging environmental-social uncertainties involved with the governance of the Baltic Sea.

Free and open to the public. For more information, contact Paloma Díaz.

To RSVP and receive updates on Facebook, visit this event at Marine Resource Extraction.

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  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712