Security, Geopolitics, and Governance Challenges in relation to Arctic Extractive Industries

There is a pressing need for an improved, more nuanced and complex, geopolitical and security understanding in the Arctic, that includes both state and non-state actors. This need has been brought home time and time again, particularly most recently with the speculation surrounding the actions and activities of Russia and China. What are the prevailing agendas, and who has influence on these?


During the Cold War, the Arctic was about a reified notion of security and geopolitics that was the purview of high politics and national interests. Security was about the protection of the state, through the use of military means. Geopolitics focused on the balances of power between states as states appeared to jockey for the best position globally in relation to their national interests. State interests and these narrow (classic) assumptions about geopolitics still remain, but the playing field has drastically changed. Non-state actors ranging from local communities to industries, to non-governmental organizations, and further to regional and international institutions, have demonstrated that they all have interests and roles to play in the future of the Arctic. The concept of security has (rightfully) been challenged by those who have been excluded, and now includes perspectives about the future that challenge state and classic political posturing. International institutions like the Arctic Council have been designed to include the voices of non-state actors, not least indigenous peoples, sending a message that debates about Arctic Futures are not exclusive to the state. Most recently, the rhetoric about the Arctic has been captured by narrow security and geopolitical interpretations that look to Russia as a new challenge, wishing a return to its role as a superpower. In reality this posturing is complex, and extractive industries play a fascinating and central role in the ways in which Arctic nations negotiate new spaces.

Course details

UArctic endorsedUArctic Endorsed
Academic level(s)Master, PhD
CountryIceland
Language of instructionEnglish
InstitutionUniversity of Lapland
Begin date16.10.2017
End date22.10.2017
Registration deadline30.06.2017
ECTS credits0.0
Field schoolYes
Fields of studySocial and behavioural science (broad programmes)
Teaching placeReykjavik and Akureyri
Teaching termFall
Tagssecuritygeopoliticsextractive industries
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