Setting the scene in Nuuk: Introducing the cast of characters in Greenlandic foreign policy narratives

Marc Jacobsen, Ulrik Pram Gad

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Greenland has for decades worked towards enhanced independent agency in international politics. The renewed global interest in the Arctic has given new
impetus to a strategy of diversifying its dependency relations as a way to postcoloniality. As the Government of Greenland puts it in its foreign policy strategy; “It is important that the interest in the Arctic and Greenland is converted into concrete opportunities for the Greenlandic people and its development as a nation” (2011:3). This chapter investigates how Greenland’s foreign policy supports the national self-image in combining indigenous cultural traditions with envisioned future independence. Hence, the chapter introduces the central members of the cast of characters in the most important narratives, which Greenland is telling about its place in the world. The analysis shows how narratives about indigenous identity combines - and infrequently clashes - with narratives of modernization in different ways when Greenland relates to Inuit kinsmen, Nordic siblings, the UN, the USA, the EU and Asian powers; the presentation of each character put in historical perspective. Theoretically, the
analysis draws on a tradition of analysing international politics and foreign policy as driven by narratively structured discourses constructing nation state identities in relation to Others.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreenland and the International Politics of a Changing Arctic : Postcolonial Paradiplomacy between High and Low Politics
Place of PublicationLondon & New York
Publication date16 Oct 2017
ISBN (Print)9781138061095
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2017
SeriesRoutledge Research in Polar Regions

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