Jun 092020

Dr. Nicolas Graham, University of Victoria

Canadian Fossil Capitalism, Corporate Strategy, and Post-Carbon Futures. Canadian Review of Sociology 56(2): 224-250.

The author of the winning article, Nicolas Graham, is a scholar of corporate networks, lobbying, and in particular, the influence of the fossil fuel sector over government policy.  Accordingly, this article is a study of the carbon extractive sector in Canada, and its relationship to renewable energy development.  The author looks both at investment in renewable energy by large fossil fuel companies, and also the interlocking nature of directorates/boards of fossil fuel and renewable energy companies.  In doing so, it presents an analysis of how the corporate structure of energy firms may impede or facilitate a transition to what the author calls a “post-carbon future” in Canada.
The committee was enthusiastic about the article and pleased to select it as the best paper.  In particular, multiple committee members noted the paper’s ambitious and time-consuming methods, including a social network analysis of firms’ interlocking directorates, and also an analysis of investments of energy firms.  Given the disparate and fragmented nature of these data, pulling it all together for an original analysis is a significant undertaking.   Committee members also lauded the author’s obvious command of relevant literature, and the social importance and timeliness of this topic.

Many thanks to the committee adjudicating this award:

Tim Haney, Mount Royal University (Chair)

Sida Liu, University of Toronto

Chiara Piazzesi, UQÀM

Stephen Riggins, Memorial University

Karen Robson, McMaster University

Frederic Vandenberghe, IESP-Uerj