Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Going local first": An ethnographic study on a North Slope Alaska community's perceptions of development meetings
by Stotts, Inuuteq Heilmann, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2016, 178; 10239685
Abstract (Summary)

In this ethnographic study I demonstrate how eight Barrow, Alaska entities communicate during meetings and how different Barrow groups perceive the stakeholder engagement process as it has taken place in the past forty years with development organizations. This research was motivated by the limited research on locals’ perspective on development meetings. Nearly all the participants were men and identified themselves as Iñupiat; most had spent significant time in Barrow and in stakeholder engagement meetings. Interviews and participant observations reveal the complex communication practices in stakeholder engagement meetings including local and external norms, the expression of common local concerns, nonverbal communication patterns, and the use of the Iñupiaq language. While many participants were tired of repeating their concerns, experienced meeting burnout, and were frustrated by outside groups “checking the box” (just going through the motions without real engagement), they also considered that the stakeholder engagement process has improved due to the increased benefits and diminished risk associated with development projects. Furthermore, participants’ explanations of the oil “seasons,” a term they use to describe fluctuating market conditions, align with the frequency distribution analysis conducted on stakeholder engagement meetings over the last decade. Recommendations derived from this research include a need for sharing of stakeholder perceptions and concerns, modifying cultural awareness sessions, consolidating all organizations’ stakeholder engagement meetings, and changing the format of public development organization meetings.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jaffe, Alexandra
Commitee: LeMaster, Barbara, Loewe, Ronald
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Linguistics, Cultural anthropology, Native American studies
Keywords: Alaska native, Development, Ethnography, Linguistics, Oil and gas, Stakeholder engagement
Publication Number: 10239685
ISBN: 978-1-369-39360-6
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