The volume explores a question that sheds light on the contested, but largely cooperative, nature of Arctic governance in the post-Cold War period: How do power relations matter – and how have they mattered – in shaping cross-border cooperation and diplomacy in the Arctic? Through carefully selected case studies – from Russia’s role in the Arctic Council to the diplomacy of indigenous peoples’ organisations – this book seeks to shed light on how power performances are enacted constantly to shore up Arctic cooperation in key ways. The conceptually driven nature of the enquiry makes the book appropriate reading for courses in international relations and political geography, while the carefully selected case studies lend themselves to courses on Arctic politics.
Non-state actors and the quest for
authority in Arcticgovernance
The modern state, as discussed in Chapter 1, can be considered a relative newcomer to the cross-border politics of the Arctic region. However,
states have featured prominently in the preceding two chapters. We have
come to see how advantageous positions earned by/granted to states
vis-à-vis other states matter for shaping the rules of the road in Arctic
cooperative governance –and ultimately shape outcomes. In this chapter,
I seek to broaden the net to explore the positions of key non
nature of the post-Cold War international system (multipolar, concentric, anarchic) and the jumbled and untidy geopolitical imaginings of a
new, arguably more chaotic, world order.
As discussed in Chapter 1, Arcticgovernance is marked by a number
of initiatives that have been initially promoted by ‘non-great-power’
states in the international system (or indeed by indigenous peoples’
Theorising Arctic hierarchies 59
organisations, NGOs and other sectors of civil society). These include
‘the Finnish Initiative’, which became the AEPS
environmental awareness (Epstein, 2008).
This book is designed to give us insight into how power relations
have been important to structuring and sustaining cross-border Arctic
cooperation and cooperative governance of the region. Taking a close
look at power necessitates jostling and unpacking established narratives
about regional history and key actors. This chapter, however, aims to provide readers less familiar with Arctic settings with important19background
and, therefore, draws upon established narratives and classifications that
Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife
Figure 5 Map of North Circumpolar Region (polar projection).
Figure 6 Map of a use-based demarcation of the Arctic from the Pan Inuit Trails project.
early 2000s, but fell into disuse as China escalated its efforts to secure
Arctic Council permanent observer status (see discussion below). The
map has a flattened perspective allowing for a viewing of both poles at
once. The boldest lines are not political boundaries, but rather potential transpolar shipping routes in bright
Introduction: a power perspective on
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule –
From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime,
Out of Space –out of Time.
(Edgar Allan Poe, ‘Dream-Land’ (1844))
From the days of the Greek cartographers dreaming about Ultima Thule
at the edges of the known world, the cold reaches of the northern hemisphere have inspired grandiose caricatures of risk and opportunity. The
region is often imagined from a distance as sublime, exceptional and
prone to extremes. Out of space and out of time, as
us to understand the performance of power in practice. This entails understanding
power as produced through marshalling necessary resources to undergird
a performance of dominance (or deference) –and pulling off the performance in such a way that the audience recognises the performance as one
of a competent actor. Repeated efforts at this kind of performance –
very successful one –heighten the ability of actors to shape outcomes after
their preferences (including furnishing a policy site with strongly anchored
norms exert influence over
behaviour in cross-border relations requires reconceptualising the space
of global governance as more than a dynamic, inclusive, vast network of
governance. Rather, we need to consider how delimited and ‘local’ the
meeting places of cross-border politics –what we can term global governance policy fields –frequently become.
This chapter examines Russia’s engagement in the Arctic Council over
time to see how its preferences are met (or not), and discusses what this
can tell us about the rules of the road in