At the heart of our project lies a framework and a methodology for research about the GlobalArctic in the age of the Anthropocene.
To begin with, the Arctic as a geographical region, roughly located North of the Polar Circle, is placed within the context of globalization: what happens at the global level in terms of climate change, technology, industrial development, as well as social and cultural change is not only affecting the Arctic; rather, it is transforming it. On the other hand, what takes place today in the Arctic, notably in terms of ice melting, resources exploration and exploitation, transport and urbanization directly affects the planet and accelerates the above global trends. Our underlying conceptual framework is thus one of Earth System Dynamics.
On this basis we devise a methodology to more systematically analyze the dynamics between the Global and the Arctic. The Global Arctic / globalized Arctic is interpreted here as a new geopolitical context, as well as used as a method of analysis.
Cutting across these four dimensions are the numerous actors which are shaping the dynamics in and of the Arctic. The most important types of actors are as follows:
Unified-States, in particular the 8 Arctic States and even more so the 5 Arctic rim States (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States), But increasingly also other states are becoming important actors in the Arctic, notably the shipping nations, such as China, Japan and Korea, and France, Germany, UK, and also others; The Arctic Council, as organization of the 8 Arctic States and the 6 indigenous peoples’ organizations, as Permanent Participants, plus observer States and organizations;
International organizations, among which most notably the United Nations (UN) and International Maritime Organization (IMO);
Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), especially in the area of Oil, Gas and Minerals extraction;
Global and Regional Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as environmental organizations, and academic institutions and network.
All these actors – be it in competition or in collaboration – are shaping the current and future governance of the Arctic, as well as the outcomes along the above four dimensions. Potential research topics pertain not only to the Arctic-Global dynamics along the above four dimensions, but also to the roles the different actors (individually and collectively) play in these dynamics. The following topics are currently being researched as part of the GlobalArctic project:
Land-rush / land-grabbing, resources exploration and exploitation in the Arctic, including the role played by TNCs and SOEs
Arctic shipping and shipping infrastructures, including the role of non-Arctic States and corporations
The urbanization of the Arctic
Comprehensive security, including militarization, as related to the resources dynamics in and of the Arctic