The rise of gendered political subjects in response to development of shale gas in the United Kingdom

Dr Meg Sherval1

1The University Of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia


The global energy landscape is transforming. Debates about energy security and energy scarcity have become increasingly important as nations seek to ensure continuity of supply into the future. Recent technological innovations have brought renewed hope to many nations through the development of unconventional oil and gas reserves. Accompanying this, however, has been an increase in community opposition most notably in Australia, Britain and the United States where concerns about governance and justice have been raised. Within activist communities, a gendered response may be seen to be occurring where women primarily are becoming the face of local resistance. Drawing on in-depth interviews with female activists throughout Britain, this paper explores the personal and political motivations for opposition to shale gas and examines how governments as agents of the law have responded to this phenomena.


Meg Sherval is a legal geographer with an interest in rural and remote places. She is particularly interested in resource communities and government decision-making around land-use transformation and strategic planning. Her research examines arguments around energy security, placement of energy infrastructure, the rise of gendered political subjects and concerns about environmental impacts and climate change. Her current focus is on shale gas communities in the UK, but she also works with agricultural communities in Australia faced with the introduction of competing industries such as coal seam gas.

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