• Dalton Kyle Gaume-Wakefield
  • Gabriela Kaplan
4. semester, Global Refugee Studies, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The changing climate has already had a profound impact on the Arctic region. Among those impacts is an increase of foreign attention to the region. As the ice melts, subsurface resources, shipping routes, tourism and commercial fishing becomes more accessible and commercially viable. This has already begun to change the geopolitical dynamics of the region -- a region which has been characterised by an ethos of international cooperation. However, this ethos is facing challenges as more and more countries have begun taking interest in the region, increasing geopolitical tensions and triggering a wave of militarisation that harkens back to the Cold War era. This has prompted observers to question -- who owns the Arctic, why? This research takes as a point of departure the idea that this question does not only apply to states, but also to non-state actors, such as Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples make up a quarter of the global Arctic population and are important actors within international regional governance. However, the role of Indigenous Peoples in Arctic governance is often left out of geopolitical questions. This research will show why Indigenous Peoples and their politics cannot be excluded from such discussions. In this pursuit, this research will undertake a case study approach to better understand how Indigenous Peoples influence governance in the region. More specifically, this research will look at the Pikialasorsuaq, a small but biologically critical marine area located between Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and Nunavut, Canada, and examine how Inuit on both sides of the Denmark/Canada border work towards gaining authority over the region. In approaching this case, this research will conceptualize the complex dynamics between authority, legitimacy, sovereignty, territoriality, indigeneity and statehood. In doing so, the conventional categorizations of state versus non-state actors will be deconstructed and reimagined. The primary theoretical approach will be Global Governance Theory, which this research locates within the field of international relations. Specifically, concepts from Michael Zürn’s Theory of Global Governance (2018) will be applied to the case study. This application will allow this research to demonstrate, analyse and explain how localised contestation of international authority can ultimately strengthen or weaken the global governance system.
ID: 333177934