Collective Imaginary as (Residual) Fantasy: A Case Study of the Faroese Oil Bonanza

Árni Jóhan Petersen

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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This empirical study of the Faroese oil bonanza examines how do collective fantasies about the future affect inter-organizational transformations even when such fantasies continuously lack any factual basis? Oil explorations have been conducted in the offshore of the Faroe Islands but after nine drillings and nine negative results the fantasy of oil has nonetheless survived in the society. Through a narrative approach and by examining the story elements in local newspaper articles relevant to the oil fantasy from 1990-2011, this study illuminates the central mechanisms of the future´s importance to the present.
The concept of fantasy and how we as researchers can study fantasies about the future are based on five dimensions of such fantasies: their 1) narrative, 2) postalgic, 3) interactive, 4) temporal, and 5) performative character. These dimensions are discussed and provide elements relevant to the study at hand. I utilize the case of the Faroese oil bonanza to mobilize them into further examination.
The key findings: Based on a modified version of the process model of performativity the dissertation outlines the central mechanisms and dynamics important for exploring the boundary conditions of the fantasy of oil. The boundary conditions in the Faroese case are met as specified in the process model that would qualify a fantasy of the future as self-fulfilling, albeit in the absence of brute facts. Lacking this factual basis, the oil fantasy is not considered as Barnesian performativity, nor is the fantasy considered merely as effective performativity. However, since the fantasy of oil has practice-shifting performative effects as the inter-organizational transformation observed in the Faroese case, I argue that the case illustrates an example of a fourth conceptual category of performativity, labelled as ‘residual’ performativity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages180
ISBN (Print)9788793956926
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956933
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesPhD Series

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