Research

Arctic Governance and the Question of Fit in a Globalized World

The Arctic is changing rapidly in ways that fundamentally affect the region’s ecosystems and societies and create new challenges for governance, while new access to resources and transportation routes raises political stakes. In the midst lies the Arctic Council as a regional high-level policy forum.

This Formas-funded project investigates the opportunities and limitations for international regional governance to meet challenges of rapid environmental change and related social in a context where drivers of change are often global yet where the power to intervene lies mainly at the national and subnational levels. Specifically, it investigates the changing role of the Arctic Council.

The project focuses on three research questions:

1. What goals and notions about goals and appropriate scale of governance are evident in statements and media coverage of Arctic change?

2. How are stakeholders positioned vis-a-vis each other and different governance structures?

3. Given the current discourse and stakeholder landscape, what are the possibilities and limitation for the Arctic Council, as an international regional governance body, to contribute to achieving stakeholders’ differently positioned goals and priorities?

The aims of the project are to better understand Arctic politics in this time of rapid environmental and social change and to use the Arctic case as a uniquely illustrative example of the politics of global change. In doing so, it will also contribute to the broader literature on international regional governance with a critical-geopolitical analysis of the issue of fit.

This project is being conducted in partnership with the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

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