Ice as infrastructure: Social life of the glacial environment on the Northern Sea Route

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.7 Connect or separate? Social studies of the Northern Sea Route
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 01:55 PM - 02:15 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Alla Bolotova (Tyumen State University/ European University at St. Petersburg/ Aleksanteri institute, Russian Federation)
Abstract text

This paper deals with human – environment relations in the Russian Arctic, analysing relationships that various actors working in the arctic seas establish with ice as a material environment. The on-going global climate change puts the condition of ice in the arctic seas in the centre of political and academic discussions on the international level and in Russia, especially due to the growing attention to the Northern Sea Route development. In this paper I analyse how distinctive physical materialities of the arctic seas are discussed and experienced by different groups of actors connected with the Northern Sea Route. I aim to show how power, infrastructures, technological decisions and everyday practices of people working in the icy marine environments are connected and intertwined. I explore how perceptions of ice are shaped by different tasks, perspectives, backgrounds, technologies and cultural narratives. Particular attention is paid to technologies of dealing with sea ice in the Arctic, both internationally known and invented/introduced in Russia.

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