Back to the Future: Arctic strategies through the geopolitical prism

Lead Author Niklas, Eklund
Institution Contact Samhällsvetarhuset, plan 5 Umeå universitet Umeå universitet 901 87 Umeå Sweden
Co-Authors S.M.E (Lize-Marié) van der Watt, Umeå University, Sweden
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.5 Geopolitics and Security of the Arctic
Datetime Thu, Sep 15, 2016 02:00 PM - 02:10 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text As the global security agenda is in a state of radical change yet again, questions about whether or not the Arctic context contributes to stability and cooperation in the region, come to the fore. Numerous drivers ranging from environmental change and prospects for economic exploitation to legal and military concerns about status and control affect the Arctic. In geopolitical terms, the Arctic represents a challenge to scholars and decision makers alike, since it is open not only to a wide range of drivers of change, but also to an equally puzzling problem of cartographical delineation. Since the early 1990s, the circumpolar region has been an example of successful de-securitization both under the international organizational umbrella of the Arctic Council and in the unilateral policy making among the littoral states. Currently, however, several political linkages portend the potential deterioration in the construction. In this presentation we address two questions: what geopolitical choice tells us about the impact of the changing global security agenda on the Arctic region, and how the Arctic can contribute/ is contributing to global stability or to insecurity? Our approach is consciously state centric and based on textual analysis. Taking a broad view of what influence different ideas about geopolitics may have upon current Arctic affairs, we analyze first and foremost the arctic policies of Canada, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Specifically, we look for geopolitical elements in the arctic policies of these four states. Contributing to how the Arctic geopolitical prism is ground among governments in the four countries are expert communities as they express their ideas and positions in publications and debates. Conceptually geopolitics offers more of a prism than a lens, more of crossroads than roadmaps, when light is thrown on development in the Arctic.
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