Polar Geopolitics?
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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.
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Chapter 17: Narratives, bureaucracies and indigenous legal orders: resource governance in Finnish Lapland

Hannah Strauss and Nuccio Mazzullo


The governance of the Arctic region, including its sub-Arctic areas, and its resources involves complexities that prevent a straightforward regulatory solution such as an Arctic Treaty, which was the subject of some debate within the European Parliament in 2008ñ09 (Powell 2011). This chapter focuses on the Arctic as a homeland (Nuttall 1992, 2000b) for a variety of indigenous peoples struggling to gain control over their land and resources which are increasingly being securitized and scrutinized for possibilities of non-renewable resource exploitation, both onshore and offshore (Powell 2008; Gerhardt et al. 2010; Nuttall 2010). Resource extraction in the Arctic takes place in the context of governance systems already in place at different scales. Moreover, current debates on governance models tend to depict the main question as being one of integrating resource extraction and environmental protection and at the same time of resolving any outstanding territorial contestation among nation states, especially over boundary demarcation. At the local scale, the situation involves additional complexities, as inhabitants of the Arctic try to continue their livelihoods in the face of mounting regulations, strategies and policies. Current media discourse creates images and narratives about the Arctic and its people, thus defining ëa range of possible plans and strategiesí for political, economic and socio-cultural activity (Christie 2011, p._332). This chapter seeks an understanding of some of the factors shaping indigenous influence on the decision-making process pertaining to livelihoods today, and in the future.

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