Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology


Sean is the Director of Policy at the Centre for Energy Ethics, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology, and a member of the Centre for Responsible Banking & Finance.  

Since late-2018, Sean’s research has focused on how financial professionals evaluate energy. His ethnographic work explores the calculation of risks, the performance of financial expertise, the valuation of energy resources, and the integration of ESG into energy investment practices.

His current project is part of the larger Energy Ethics research project led by Dr Mette High and funded by the European Research Council. It follows on his SSHRC-funded PhD research in which he investigated the financialisation of agricultural commodity markets and his MSc research on global supply chains.

He leads the Financial Pathways theme of the multi-year Research Alliance for Energy, Homes and Livelihoods, funded by the Scottish Funding Council. He is also the co-convenor of the Department of Social Anthropology’s Departmental Seminar Series, the co-founder and co-organizer of the Energy Café, and the founder of the Energy and Climate Finance Network.

Sean regularly contributes to local, national, and international discussions of energy, energy finance, and energy policy. His interviews, analysis and commentary have been featured by BBC Radio, The Associated Press, The Courier newspaper, The Sunday National newspaper, The Xinhua News Agency and have been reprinted by agencies such as The Washington Post.

A detailed list of Sean’s activities and publications can be found on his University Pure Profile.


At the University of St Andrews, Sean has co-convened the Anthropology of Energy module, which was awarded a Golden Dandelion Prize for excellence in teaching environmental sustainability, and the Environmental Ethics at Work Vertically Integrated Project. Prior to arriving at St Andrews, he convened undergraduate modules in Economic Geography, Energy and Society, Business and Industrial Geography, Human Resources Management, Applied Ethics, and Research Methods, as well as a postgraduate module in the Economics of Social Policy.   


Freddie Medintsev (co-supervision), School of Mathematics and Statistics

Selected publications

Field. S. 2023 (online first).  Value as ethics: climate change, crisis, and the struggle for the future. Economic Anthropology; available from:

Field S. 2022. Carbon Capital: The financial lexicon and allegories of the US oil and gas sector.  Economy & Society 51(2): 235-258; available from:

Field S. 2022. Risk and Responsibility: Private Equity Financiers and the US Shale Revolution.  Economic Anthropology 9(1): 47-59; available from:  

Field S. 2021. Power and precariousness in the expert hierarchies of the US hydrocarbon industry. Critique of Anthropology 41(3): 303-319; available from:  

Field S. 2017. Examining the Influence of Intellectuals on Commodity Speculation. Geoforum 83 (July): 71-79; available from:     

Field S. 2016. The financialization of food and the 2008–2011 food price spikes. Environment and Planning A 48 (11): 2272-2290; available from:  


Find a full list of Sean’s publications here.


Governmental & Policy Submissions 

Field S, High MM, Skrzypek E & Ulph D. 2022. Written evidence: Inquiry on Energy pricing and the future of the Energy Market. UK Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee; available from:  

Field S, High MM & Skrzypek E.  2022. Written evidence (CCE0053): Mobilising action on climate change and environment: behaviour change. The House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee; available from:


Selected Other Publications

Field S. 2021. Natural Gas in the UK, Part 2: Potential winter blackouts and the grid.  The Energy Blog; available from:   

Field S. 2021. Natural Gas in the UK, Part 1: Infrastructures & Geopolitics.  The Energy Blog; available from:  

Field S & High MM. 2021. Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 5: Betting on the Future.  The Energy Blog; available from:  

Field S & High MM. 2020. Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 4: The Brent Crude Complex.  The Energy Blog; available from:  

Field S & High MM. 2020. Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 3: Anticipating the future and financializing oil.  The Energy Blog; available from:    

High MM & Field S. 2020. Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 2: Pipelines and Oil Prices.  The Energy Blog; available from:    

High MM & Field S. 2020. Oil, Oil, Who wants some oil?  Part 1: Reflections on Oil Infrastructures at a Time of Negative Oil Prices.  The Energy Blog; available from: