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Vol. 7 No. 2 (2016)

(Re)Producing Power: Analyzing the New Brunswick Energy Institute Roundtables1

January 5, 2017


In this paper I examine the New Brunswick Energy Institute’s roundtables for their ability to integrate citizen concerns about hydraulic fracturing, those concerns circulating within informal domains (e.g., within activist protest). Drawing on observational and transcription data, I reveal a set of value commitments held by those leading the NBEI, which invisibly defined a limited range of technological choices for roundtable members. These commitments also established energy decisions as the purview of technically trained experts. This study extends scholarly research on public engagements by making visible the possible role of value assumptions and conceptual frameworks in limiting their democratic potential.