Politics of sustainability in the Arctic: A Research Agenda

Ulrik Pram Gad, Uffe Jacobsen, Jeppe Strandsbjerg

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of sustainability has taken centre stage in Arctic politics. However, there is little agreement on what ‘sustainable’ means. For different actors (governments, indigenous people, NGOs, etc.) the concept implies different sets of opportunities and precautions. Sustainability, therefore, is much more a fundamental idea to be further elaborated depending on contexts than a definable term with a specific meaning. The paper argues a research agenda that aims to map and analyse the role of sustainability in political and economic strategies in the Arctic. Sustainability has become a fundamental concept that orders the relationship between the environment (nature) and development (economy), however, in the process rearticulating other concepts such as identity (society) and security (state). Hence, we discuss, first, how sustainability when meeting the Arctic changes its meaning and application from the global ecosphere to a regional environment, and, second, how sustainability is again conceptually transformed when meeting Greenlandic ambitions for postcoloniality. This discussion leads us to outline an agenda for how to study the way in which sustainability works as a political concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorthern sustainabilities : Understanding and Addressing Change in the Circumpolar World
EditorsGail Fondahl, Gary N. Wilson
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-46150-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
SeriesSpringer Polar Sciences

Bibliographical note

ISSN 2510-0475


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