Assessments, models and international politics of the Arctic : why the 'New North' narrative includes only bomber, polar bear, oil, and gas deposit models, and no original parts or an assembly manual
Title: Assessments, models and international politics of the Arctic : why the 'New North' narrative includes only bomber, polar bear, oil, and gas deposit models, and no original parts or an assembly manual
Author: DAHL, Justiina
Citation: The Polar journal, 2015, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 35-58
ISSN: 2154-896X; 2154-8978
With the advancement of global climate change, a special “New North” narrative has gained popularity as the starting point in studies that make assertions over the future role of the Arctic in the international political universe. This article illustrates how this narrative consists of the three more general claims; first, that by looking at the Arctic today, we will be able to tell something central about the conditions of the international society tomorrow; second, that with the advancement of global climate change, we will witness the emergence of a new, but yet a very traditional, geopolitical heartland in the melting Arctic; and third, that there is something explicitly novel about the state-supported plans to appropriate the Arctic in the twenty-first century. By contextualizing each of the three claims into the more general socio-technical fabric they are embedded, the article demonstrates how behind each of the three claims there are a series of problematic acts of black boxing of the complexities in the scientific, material and historical accounts of activities in the Arctic that make them appear reasonable. As a result of these acts, any active powers of resistance by non-human elements are silenced, as well as historical accounts rationalized to benefit the interests of present actors. This is exemplified to be disadvantageous for political analysis and policy-making because in the process the inhabitants of the Arctic end up living a kind of a laboratory life for the benefit of someone else, and the accidental origins of human-induced global climate change are denied. The article concludes by proposing an additional focus for social and political analysis of the Arctic that would better enable making the interplay of science, technology and politics in decision and policy-making more transparent.
Published online: 17 Jun 2015
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