Non-state actors and the quest for authority in Arctic governance
in Arctic governance

The chapter brings contestation over authority into focus by examining how two non-state actors – scientific actors and representatives of indigenous polities – ‘meet the State’ at the political level within the Arctic Council. We explore how a concept borrowed from science and technology studies – civic epistemology – is one framework that can be applied to capture the ongoing dynamics around authority in a cross-cutting, regionally based ‘umbrella’ policy field such as the Arctic. We find Arctic Council progress highly reliant on the agenda-setting and evidence-gathering of science actors, and that the contributions of working groups, among others, are trusted by other policy field participants. However, the political level and Permanent Participants actively strive to secure their own authoritative positions, particularly vis-à-vis semi-independent working groups with longstanding secretariats and staff. This is manifested in who speaks on behalf of the Arctic Council, and is evident especially in contestation over who addresses non-Arctic settings and can draw and disseminate to a global audience evidence-based policy conclusions. Both states and Permanent Participants claim a more exclusive right to speak for the Arctic and its peoples, even if well informed by, appreciative of and utilising the science brought to the science–policy interface by expert actors.

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Arctic governance

Power in cross-border Cooperation

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