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A higher level of civilisation? The transformation of Ny-Ålesund from Arctic coalmining settlement in Svalbard to global environmental knowledge center at 79° North
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.
2019 (English)In: Polar Record, ISSN 0032-2474, E-ISSN 1475-3057Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article provides an historical account and analysis of the repurposing of Ny-Ålesund from Arctic coalmining settlement to Norwegian-administered international research base in Svalbard. Three levels of analysis are employed to explain the settlement’s transformation and its rising geopolitical significance, focusing primarily on the period of rapid internationalisation and expansion of scientific activities starting in the late 1980s. The local level examines Norway’s efforts to maintain effective occupation of greater Kongsfjorden by promoting research, underpinned by the economisation of the area’s near-pristine natural environment as a non-extractive resource for science; the global level applies the concept of telecoupling to consider the role of events and processes at larger spatial scales that facilitated Ny-Ålesund’s transformation; and the “glocal” level explains how the interaction of Norwegian and global actors in the locality of Ny-Ålesund have collectively shaped the community’s institutions over some 30 years. The article also reflects on recent policy changes signalling more assertive Norwegian administration and greater coordination of research in Ny-Ålesund.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Telecoupling, Arctic geopolitics, Science diplomacy
National Category
History
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-264439DOI: 10.1017/S0032247419000603OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-264439DiVA, id: diva2:1373535
Funder
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
Note

QC 20191129

Available from: 2019-11-27 Created: 2019-11-27 Last updated: 2019-11-29Bibliographically approved

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