Natural resources and social visions for Greenland’s future

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The Arctic is often perceived as the new resource frontier in a resource hungry world. Many actors both inside and outside the region are eager to know what opportunities lie under the ice, and many claim a say in the future development of the Arctic. In Greenland, a national economy based on natural resources will lessen the dependence on the former colonial power Denmark. Many consider this an important step towards full independence and statehood for Greenland. Others warn against natural resource exploitation, raising environmental concerns about for example oil spills, pointing to climate change due to the emissions from burning fossil fuels and its effects in the Arctic, but also questioning the indigenous ambition of joining the market economy. This paper looks at representations of natural resources in the Arctic region, and in particular the case of Greenland: How do certain representations of natural resources impose constraints on social visions for Greenland’s future? Inspired by Bacchi’s (1999) What’s the problem approach, I look at the representation of natural resource exploration and exploitation from the view of the Greenlandic Government, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Greenpeace International. These are chosen as three voices, representing national government, a regional, multinational organisation, and an international non-profit civil actor, who all have opinions about the Arctic’s future development. The paper discusses the constraints the actors’ discourses have on social visions, and how representations of certain natural resources as “the” development path inhibit other imagined Arctic futures.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science
  • Environmental Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016 Jan 24
Publication categoryResearch
EventArctic Frontiers 2016: Industry and Environment - University of Tromsø / University of the Arctic, Tromø, Norway
Duration: 2016 Jan 242016 Jan 29
Conference number: 10


ConferenceArctic Frontiers 2016
Internet address