Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo, and the Oil/Tar Sands: Revisiting the Sociology of "Community"

Dorrow, Sara and O'Shaughnessy, Sara (2013) Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo, and the Oil/Tar Sands: Revisiting the Sociology of "Community". Canadian Journal of Sociology, 38 (2). pp. 121-140. ISSN 0318-6431

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In the first decade of the 21st century, more than one hundred billion dollars were poured into the business of extracting bitumen at increasingly higher rates from the third largest known deposit of oil and by some estimates the largest industrial mega-program in our planet’s history — the Athabasca Oil Sands formation in northeast Alberta. Fort McMurray is the urban service area that sits at the heart of the Florida-sized region under which these deposits lie (for a series of maps, see http:// It has also become a Canadian and even global household name that conjures the whole of the oil/tar sands, invoking larger than life scales of work, money, opportunity, destruction, development, environment, “the North.” For many who live there it represents home and history, while for many others it represents work-but-not-home. For one network of transnational actors, it invokes a behemoth that must be stopped, or at least slowed down, and for yet another transnational network, it invokes a lucrative if sometimes risky investment opportunity.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 14234
Department(s): Divisions > On the Move Partnership
Date: 22 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
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