Human Flags - Scientists and Resource Politics in the Arctic

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The Arctic is a popular place to do research. Many countries fund scientific research projects in the region, and international scientists are a considerable part of the Arctic population. Knowledge and expertise about the Arctic is no longer restricted to the Arctic states. Less controversial than flag planting at the North Pole and test drilling for oil, scientists and research stations are often regarded as apolitical. While knowledge about Arctic ecosystem, ice-pack flows, and atmospheric changes are important, the heavy investments made in Arctic research can also be viewed as opportunities for the sponsor to claim physical presence and know-how in and about the Arctic. A major resource discovery within the proximity of a research station or research area could potentially rock this seemingly innocent practice. This paper will critically explore the presence of international scientists and research centres on Svalbard, historically and today. In particular the focus is on researchers from non-Arctic states such as China, Japan and South Korea. What role do scientists and knowledge-production play at the so-called new resource frontier? If science is a successful strategy for non-Arctic states to enter the region, does this also give access to resource politics? The aim is to provide an overview of scientists present on Svalbard, to discuss how scientists have been constructed as apolitical actors and how science and knowledge-production can work as political projects.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015 Nov 13
Publication categoryResearch
EventMatchpoints Seminar 2015: Security and Governance in the Globalised Arctic: Nordic and International Perspectives - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 2015 Nov 122015 Nov 13
Conference number: 8


ConferenceMatchpoints Seminar 2015
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