© 2018

Public Brainpower

Civil Society and Natural Resource Management

  • Indra Overland

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Paola Rivetti, Francesco Cavatorta
    Pages 23-40
  3. Carlo Tognato
    Pages 91-106
  4. Roman Vakulchuk, Indra Overland
    Pages 143-162 Open Access
  5. Ebtissam El Kailani-Chariat
    Pages 163-179
  6. Nina Poussenkova, Indra Overland
    Pages 261-289 Open Access

About this book


This book examines how civil society, public debate and freedom of speech affect natural resource governance. Drawing on the theories of Robert Dahl, Jurgen Habermas and Robert Putnam, the book introduces the concept of ‘public brainpower’, proposing that good institutions require: fertile public debate involving many and varied contributors to provide a broad base for conceiving new institutions; checks and balances on existing institutions; and the continuous dynamic evolution of institutions as the needs of society change.

The book explores the strength of these ideas through case studies of 18 oil and gas-producing countries: Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Russia, Saudi, UAE, UK and Venezuela. The concluding chapter includes 10 tenets on how states can maximize their public brainpower, and a ranking of 33 resource-rich countries and the degree to which they succeed in doing so.

The Introduction and the chapters 'Norway: Public Debate and the Management of Petroleum Resources and Revenues', 'Kazakhstan: Civil Society and Natural-Resource Policy in Kazakhstan', and 'Russia: Public Debate and the Petroleum Sector' of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


Natural Resources Oil and Gas Resource Curse Civil Society Institutions Mass Media Freedom of Speech Governance

Editors and affiliations

  • Indra Overland
    • 1
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)OsloNorway

About the editors

Indra Overland is a research professor and head of the Energy Programme at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and professor (part-time) at Nord University in Bodø, Norway. He has previously headed the Russia, Eurasia and Arctic Research Group at NUPI and established the PRIX Index forecasting supply-side political risks for international oil markets. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge in the year 2000 and was awarded the Toby Jackman Prize for best PhD dissertation, The International Journal’s Marcel Cadieux Prize for best article, NUPI’s Stuland Prize for academic publishing. He co-authored the most-cited article published in the Journal of Eurasian Studies, and is ranked among the top 1% of researchers on

Other Contributors:

Paola Rivetti, Lecturer in Politics of the Middle East and International Relations, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Ireland

Francesco Cavatorta, Lecturer in International Political Economy, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, UK.

Kenan Aslanli, Programme Officer for Asia at the International Budget Partnership; Guest lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna, Austria.

Shantel Jordison, Manager, Extractive Resource Governance Programme, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, Canada.

Jesse Salah Ovadia, International Political Economy, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, UK.

Carlo Tognato, Director, Centre for Social Studies, National University of Colombia; Director, Nicanor Restrepo Santamaría Centre for Civil Reconstruction; Faculty Fellow, Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University, USA.

Robert Springborg, Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London, UK; Research Fellow at the Italian Institute of International Affairs, Italy.

Ibrahim Al Marashi, Assistant Professor, Department of History, California State University, San Marcos, USA.

Roman Vakulchuk, Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Norway.

Ebtissam Al Kailani-Chariat, Counsel and co-founder of Libyan Lawyers for Justice and Co-founder of Al Kailani Consulting, Paris, France.

Aad Correljé, Associate Professor, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TU Delft Netherlands; Research Fellow, Clingendael International Energy Programme; member, Editorial Board of Energy Policy; instructor, Florence School of Regulation, Italy.

Cyril Obi, Program Director, Social Science Research Council (SSRC), USA; Research Associate, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Visiting Scholar, Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, NY, USA.

Steven Wright, Associate Professor of International Relations and Gulf Studies, Department of International Affairs, Qatar University; Associate Dean for Planning and Quality Assurance, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Nina Poussenkova, Senior Researcher, Institute for World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Mark C. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Martin Hvidt, Professor, Zayed University, UAE; Associate Professor in Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Philip Wright, Scientific Director, Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia; Research Associate, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, UK.

Juan Carlos Boué, Research Associate, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, UK.

Ricardo Villasmil, Professor, Public Politics Centre, Venezuela; Professor, International Centre for Energy and the Environment, IESA, Valencia, Venezuela.


Bibliographic information


“This edited volume by Indra Overland fills an important gap in the literature on natural resource management. … The book is a valuable contribution to both academic and policy debates on good governance and natural resources. It not only brings out an important issue, but it is situated within the dominant resource curse theories which makes Overland’s book well placed to be an important and influential addition to the existing theoretical and policy debates.” (Camilla Houeland, Democratization, Vol. 26 (2), 2019)