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Polar Geopolitics?

Polar Geopolitics?

Knowledges, Resources and Legal Regimes

Edited by Richard C. Powell and Klaus Dodds

The polar regions (the Arctic and Antarctic) have enjoyed widespread public attention in recent years, as issues of conservation, sustainability, resource speculation and geopolitical manoeuvring have all garnered considerable international media interest. This critical collection of new and original papers – the first of its kind – offers a comprehensive exploration of these and other topics, consolidating the emergent field of polar geopolitics.

Chapter 12: Connecting southern frontiers: Argentina, the South West Atlantic and 'Argentine Antarctic Territory'

Matt Benwell

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations


To mark the longevity of Argentine presence and scientific endeavour in Antarctica (since 1904) the influential state-operated television channel, TV P˙blica, aired an advertisement in February 2012, which opened with the phrase above. Significantly, it reminded domestic and international audiences (the advertisement was uploaded to YouTube as well as the DirecciÛn Nacional del Ant·rctico (DNA) website with subtitles in English) of the enduring connections between continental Argentina and Antarctica, manifest through a history of scientific investigation specifically undertaken by Argentine scientists embedded in the Polar Regions. The ambiguous use of the word ëhomelandí is especially intriguing here. Kaplan (2003, p._90) suggests the term ëputs into play a history of multiple meanings, connotations, and associations that work, on the one hand, to convey a sense of unity, security and stability, but more profoundly, on the other hand, work to generate forms of radical insecurity by proliferating threats of the foreign lurking within and without national bordersí. This chapter considers these notions of (dis)unity, (in)stability and (in)security in relation to Argentinaís territorial claims in Antarctica, thinking through the spatial extent of this implied ëhomelandí, as well as the performances and practices which reinforce and police its boundaries.

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