From local to regional scale of governance: which political representation for Arctic inhabitants?

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.11 Transport, infrastructure, communication - local, regional and global scales
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s)
Abstract text

For about thirty years in the Arctic, devolution processes has been raising the question of the political representation of Arctic inhabitants. On a regional scale, the Arctic Council is the main organisation of cooperation to answer multiscalar forms of territoriality. This forum gathers at the same time the sovereign Arctic States and representatives of indigenous peoples. Through the Arctic Council case study, this research aims at questioning the relationships between central governments of Arctic Council member states and their more autonomous counter-parts in the North. To what extent an organisation which claims to represent the territories in a transcalar way can include a real political representation of the local territories?


My method is based on two pillars. First, on a documentary analysis method, that is the analysis of documents produced by the Arctic Council, international agreements, Arctic states strategy etc. The second part of my method is to conduct interviews with diplomats from Arctic countries, representatives of Permanent Participants and Observers.


Using a socio-historical approach, I am pointing out how the political process of representation inside the Arctic regional governance has been evolving in a context of global climate changes and international interest for the region. The regional governance is challenged by the international interest in the Arctic and at the local level of governance. Central governments are tempted to bypass the multilateral institutions and devolutionary compromises and the inclusion of non-state actors in the process of governance strengthens the authority of States in the region.

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