The aims of this thematic network are:
Firstly, the thematic network (TN) aims at strengthening and promoting multidisciplinary, critical studies of the Arctic and its development in a time of environmental change. Much of the current social science-based research is so called “state science” in many Arctic countries with a strong orientation towards data collection and societal problem-solving. However, many of the current societal challenges and problems are complex, intertwined “wicked problems” without any easy solutions, and new conceptual, critical tools are needed to understand them. Critically oriented research has developed around the Arctic in recent years. Critical research here means challenging mainstream, simplified, and stereotypical understandings of the Arctic; questioning basis of the current depictions of the region and its development; engaging more standpoints and voices for diverse reflective assessments of policy; and elevating the importance of the region and its future on the global scale.
Secondly, the Critical Arctic Studies (CAS) TN aims to promote teaching and supervision for growth of critical Arctic studies, and to provide a forum for cooperation in teaching, supervision, and research as well as for networking between newer and senior scholars. The joint activities planned are suitable for a range of disciplines such as political science, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, Sami and indigenous studies, environmental management, legal studies, geography and so forth. There are opportunities for cooperation on common interests with other UArctic Thematic Networks.
In the next few years, CAS plans include
- to run workshops about different, relevant topics, such as language hegemony in Arctic research, in collaboration with partners and in connection to international conferences, workshops and symposiums, such as Northern political economy symposium.
- to organize joint teaching and supervision activities, such as lectures, courses and roundtables, to support education and build community sense among scholars at different stages of careers.
- to develop joint publication activities and research projects and applications based on the participants interests to further develop Critical Arctic Studies.
Monica Tennberg, Lead of the UArctic Thematic Network on Critical Arctic Studies