Science as National Belonging: the Construction of Svalbard as a Norwegian Space
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This paper examines how science has been employed to establish, maintain, and contest senses of belonging on Svalbard, an Arctic archipelago administered by Norway since 1925 under an international treaty. The central argument is that the process of constructing Svalbard as a space belonging to Norway has long been intertwined with the processes of describing and representing the archipelago, and that participating in those processes has also permitted other states to articulate their own narratives of belonging— on Svalbard in particular and in the Arctic more generally. The concept of belonging is deployed to capture a sense of legitimate presence and stakeholdership that we do not believe can be adequately captured by the narrow concept of sovereignty. The article explores Norway’s historic and current use of science to validate (and even naturalize) its rule over Svalbard. At the same time, we argue that other states use science on Svalbard to articulate geopolitical scripts that portray them as stakeholders in an Arctic that is of trans-regional relevance due to the teleconnected effects of climate change.
Arctic, history of science, Ny-Ålesund, polar geopolitics, research stations, scripting, Svalbard
History of Ideas
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-5680OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-5680DiVA: diva2:890525