Beyond consensus: perceptions of risk from petroleum developments in Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, Norway

Maiken Bjørkan*, Siri Veland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The proposed petroleum developments in the Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja are a controversial issue in Norway. We ask how insights into legitimacy and risk perception can help to illuminate the disputed policy process for petroleum developments in Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja. Our Q-methodology elicits three key narratives that steer the policy process: (i) best practice and knowledge does not permit coexistence, and fishing takes priority; (ii) coexistence is possible with good process where the nation-state manages risk; and (iii) the state and industry cannot facilitate coexistence, science and conservation come first. We argue these narratives reflect divergence in worldview in three key ways: (i) differential perspectives on the priority of local, national, and global scales; (ii) emphasis on the role of knowledge, skill, and rectitude in finding best policy; and (iii) differential concern for fish, the nation-state, and conservation. We argue for a more realistic approach to coexistence in deliberative democracy that does not aim for consensus and win-win outcomes, and assert that disagreement and partial victories and losses is a natural and healthy state of affairs in a democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1393-1403
Number of pages11
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

A corrigendum exists for this article and can be found in ICES Journal of Marine Science, 76(6), p.1935, doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsz096


  • agonism
  • consensus
  • deliberative democracy
  • Lofoten
  • Vesterålen and Senja
  • petroleum discourse
  • Q-methodology
  • risk perception


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