Overall Goal

The two detailed focus areas of this TN are: first, studies on ‘Geopolitics’ like for example, how geopolitics is present / implemented in the circumpolar North; what might mean indigenous point(s) of view of geopolitics; and what might be among key indicators of the geopolitics in a changing North; and second, studies on ‘Security’ like for example, how different discourses on security are implemented in the North; what are special features of Northern security; and what kind of security factor climate change is.

The aim of the Thematic Network on Geopolitics and Security is to combine the two focus areas – Studies on Geopolitics, and Security Studies -, and based on that to draw up a holistic picture on Arctic geopolitics and Northern security as well as to identify and analyze major changes of them.

Another aim is to promote ’interdisciplinarity’, to implement the interplay between research and teaching as well as the discussion between young and senior scholars, and to promote the interplay between science and politics, and that between scientific and traditional knowledge(s).

Long-term purpose
Studies on Geopolitics (by the members of the TN) include issues, such as

  • “How geopolitics is present, and implemented today in the Arctic, in general and in national strategies and policies of the Arctic states?”;
  • “What is, or might mean, indigenous point(s) of view of Geopolitics?”;
  • “What is the importance and role of TNCs, and that of SOEs in the Arctic?;
  • “How to describe  and analyze the geopolitics of a changing Arctic, and its main factors, such as climate change, energy security and utilization of natural resources?”; and
  • “How is the globalized  Arctic seen in world politics, and the global economy?”.

Studies on ‘Security’ (by the members of the TN) include issues, such as

  • ”What is future security of the Arctic region?”;
  • ”Military Strategies and Defense Policies in, and impacts of Recent Crises on, Security of the Arctic”;
  • ”Environmental / Human Security, Maritime Safety, Economic Development, Energy Security and International Treaties”;
  • ”Local and Regional Security, (State) Sovereignty, National and Regional Security, and New Security Actors”;
  • ”The Nexus of Resource Extraction, the Global Economy, National Interests, and Global Governance - an Arctic (security) Paradox”.

Final, after combining the two focus areas there are several interesting theoretical issues and potential research questions, such as

  • “Resource geopolitics and Energy security”;
  • “Geopolitics and Security impacting environmental politics”;
  • “Climate change changing Geopolitics and causing a change in problem definition on security”;
  • ”The Global Arctic: environmental, economic, societal, and geopolitical dynamics in the Arctic, and their global drivers and implications”.

Main Activities

Among planned activities are first, to run annual workshops for the members of the TN as well as for PhD students on political sciences back-to-back to international conferences and seminars, such as NRF Open Assemblies and Calotte Academy; second, to implement the interplay between research and teaching, between senior and young researchers and between science and politics; third, to act as a joint platform for discussion on these matters in general and particularly between the NRF and the UArctic; and final, to launch and run an international research project on the themes.

Current and Planned Activities

For to implement the aims and long-term purposes, as well as to promote interdisciplinary discourse on the two focus areas, the TN on Geopolitics and Security

  • Publishes annually The Arctic Yearbook - the (first) 2012 Arctic Yearbook was launched in November 2012, the next one will be launched in the 2nd Arctic Circle conference in November 2014;
  • Organizes the panel Security in the Arctic in annual Arctic Circle conference  (in Reykjavik, Iceland); co-organizes an annual international traveling symposium seminar, Calotte Academy (Inari, Finland, Kirkenes, Norway, Apatity, Russia and  Kiruna, Sweden); and organizes annually 2-3 its own workshops / brainstorming meetings back-to-back to international conferences;
  • Acts as a joint platform for discussion on (Arctic) geopolitics and (Northern) security in general, and particularly between the NRF and the UArctic and its’ thematic networks, as well as implements the interplay between science and politics, and that between senior and young researchers;
  • Takes initiatives for, as well as coordinates, supports and runs, international research and book projects on IR, geopolitics and security studies, such as “The Arctic – a region of strategies and policies. Avoiding a new Cold War” (2012-2013) funded by the Valdai Discussion Club (final report out in autumn 2014); “The Global Arctic”, an international expert network in cooperation with the NRF; and a tentative plan for an international research project “Resource Geopolitics and Sovereignty in the Arctic” (at its 1st stage).