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  • 1.
    Eklund, Niklas
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
    van der Watt, Lize-Marié
    Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University.
    Refracting (geo)political choices in the Arctic2017In: The Polar Journal, ISSN 2154-896X, E-ISSN 2154-8978, Vol. 7, no 1, p. 86-103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Geopolitics as a field was originally intended as a theoretical modelling of the relationship between fixed geographical circumstances and political choice. Now, the field is largely dominated by critical studies. It is almost considered axiomatic to include geopolitics as a theme in descriptive and analytical studies of the Arctic in global, regional, national and local contexts. This essay aims to review the core tenets of geopolitical thought and trace the categories and distinctions between the classical and critical approaches as applied in Arctic scholarship. It draws on highlights from the Arctic policy texts of three states demonstrating how assumptions and political options in terms of Arctic geographies can be expressed in different geopolitical frameworks. It is argued that revisiting and reviewing the core categories of geopolitics and their application in Arctic affairs can contribute to a better-informed understanding of how developments in the Arctic may unfold, as well as provide insights into the different functionalities of geopolitics.

  • 2.
    Pashkevich, Albina
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna.
    Stjernström, Olof
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
    Lundmark, Linda
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
    Nature-based tourism, conservation and institutional governance: a case study from the Russian Arctic2016In: The Polar Journal, ISSN 2154-896X, E-ISSN 2154-8978, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 112-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyses current institutional arrangements connected to the protection of natural resources in developing nature-based tourism in the territories of the north-western part of the Russian Arctic. Examples from two regions, the Arkhangelsk Oblast and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, illustrate how the different methods of nature conservation – national parks and nature reserves – are promoting or constraining the development of nature-based tourism activities. The study is based on 14 semi-structured interviews with representatives from state organisations as well as representatives from non-governmental organisations, and reviews of planning and policy documents. This paper discusses the factors shaping present institutional arrangements connected to environmental protection and the capability to establish planning schemes. The agencies responsible for nature-based tourism development often suffer from rudimentary tourism planning, inadequate tourism infrastructure and a lack of service management skills. In addition, there is evidence that mistrust and a lack of collaboration among governmental agencies and private stakeholders also limit development opportunities. Despite the difficulties experienced by authorities responsible for the measures of conservation and nature protection in the remote Arctic territories (Nenetsky State Nature Reserve), pockets of success are identifiable (e.g. Kenozersky National Park). The reality of the nature conservation efforts and the ability to develop nature-based activities is heavily dependent on individual engagement and interpersonal collaboration, which makes the best practices non-transferable to other contexts. So far, the current system of institutional governance limits the possibilities to increase the economic impact of nature-based tourism in the Russian Arctic.

  • 3.
    van der Watt, Lize-Marié
    Department for History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Return to Gondwanaland: South Africa, Antarctica, minerals and apartheid2013In: The Polar Journal, ISSN 2154-896X, E-ISSN 2154-8978, p. 72-93Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    During the 1980s, the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) faced intense international scrutiny. A new power bloc of developing countries, utilising the language of colonialism and using the United Nations as one of their main platforms, called into question the legitimacy of the ATS. The developing countries’ lobby also challenged apartheid South Africa’s membership of the Antarctic Treaty. One of the main driving forces behind these tensions was widely acknowledged to be resources, living and mineral and the rights of access to them. The debate on mineral exploration and extraction culminated in the Convention on the Regulation of the Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (CRAMRA). Preparations started in the mid-1970s, CRAMRA was adopted in 1988 but it never went into force. This article investigates some of the historical complexities and contingencies involved in the CRAMRA process, using South Africa as a case study. It looks at how Gondwanaland–broadly conceived–surfaced in the debates in terms of geology as well as geopolitics. “Gondwanaland” highlighted the proximity of South Africa to Antarctica, and the shared geological formations between parts of southern Africa and Antarctica implied shared mineral potential. In South Africa, debates about Antarctic mineral resources and the Antarctic Treaty were invested with concerns about the apartheid state’s status as pariah state on the one hand, and its “first world”, anti-communist status on the other. Diplomats were anxious for South Africa to maintain its membership of the Treaty, one of the few multilateral bodies that still welcomed the country. In public, fears about a “third world grab” in the Antarctic resonated with the “total onslaught” rhetoric of the South African police state.

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