Oil Sands, Public Health, and Politics in Fort Chipewyan: An Analysis of the Impact of Oil Sands Extraction on Public Health and Political Institutions in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

By Roni Ada Druks.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The northern Alberta hamlet of Fort Chipewyan has been profoundly impacted by the extraction and processing of oil sands, a viscous form of petroleum found deep within the earth. The following paper will convey the impact of the oil sands industry on both public health and political institutions in Fort Chipewyan. It will suggest that the extraction of viscous petroleum deposits may have resulted in elevated rates of lymphoma and biliary tract cancer within the hamlet. It will also draw upon scholar Michael Watts’ oil-complex model and Michel Foucault’s theories of authoritarian governance to understand the impact of an oil sands economy on political institutions and accountability.

Keywords: Oil Sands, Oil Complex, Biopower, Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, Public Health, Foucault, Environmental Degradation, Government, Community, Cancer

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.91-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 214.919KB).

Roni Ada Druks

Student, Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

I am currently a rising senior at Yale University majoring in anthropology. Although my academic interests are fairly wide, they tend to fall in the realm of sociocultural anthropology and political anthropology. This particular paper was inspired by the work of Michel Foucault and Michael Watts, whose ideas about power, culture, and resources I find especially captivating. Outside of academics, I am specifically interested in topics concerning human rights and social justice, and thus at Yale I am an editor for the Yale Journal of Human Rights and have worked on some projects with the Law School.