Towards human security in the Arctic: Lessons learned from Canadian Rangers and Junior Canadian Rangers
This research aims at identifying elements that might create an enabling environment for the protection of human security in Canada’s Arctic communities. Human security aims at protecting individual(s) against physical or non-physical, violent or non-violent threats (environment, health, development or well-being). In order to assess the current human security in Canadian Arctic, this research analyses the relational dynamics within Canadian Rangers patrols, which are composed of Indigenous people under the responsibility of non-Indigenous instructors. It focuses on Nunavik, where communities suffer from many risks related to the concept of human security, and analyses a corpus of 21 qualitative interviews and field observations conducted in 2016 and 2017. Data interpretation reveals that the Canadian government indirectly strengthens human security of its Arctic communities through Canadian Rangers and Junior Canadian Rangers patrols - Canadian Rangers’ youth counterpart. This strengthening of human security in Canadian Arctic communities results from a three-step process based on balanced and respectful relationship dynamics between Inuit Rangers and non-Inuit instructors, allowing Canadian Rangers patrols and Junior Canadian Rangers patrols to act as a source and a guarantee of human security.
As the 2006-2012 Arctic hype has settled and we are now heading towards the second decade of the 21st century, a sober approach to Arctic security is needed. Traditional military security may never disappear from the Barents, a region that includes a border between Russia and NATO. However, environmental and societal security could keep traditional security aspects in the background, as contemporary critical security aspects are becoming more important for the prosperity of the region. By deepening and widening the security agenda, it is easier to identify who is threatened, whose security we are concerned about and who would be responsible to provide security in the Barents Region. So, in what ways could critical security studies contribute towards a holistic approach to the Barents Region, concerning the environment and local population? Redefining the security of the Barents is imperative in order to pursue solutions for actual security problems instead of hunting ghosts from the past.Environmental and societal security are inherently connected in the Barents Region and a thorough analysis of their interdependence is essential. Chain reactions that could be triggered through a potential damage to the environment could have severe impacts on population that depends heavily on traditional ways of living like fishing, gathering and herding. Moreover, environmental concerns exist within geopolitical agendas as environmental disasters could lead to turmoil and migration. Nevertheless, international and bilateral cooperation in the area, concerning environmental protection and human prosperity, is favouring the endeavours for a better future of the Barents Region.
Climate change is ushering in a new era across the circumpolar region, affecting all aspects of Arctic life, including conditions of security across the circumpolar Arctic. This article argues that the intersection of human-caused climate change, particularly the warming of the Arctic Ocean, and renewed great power competition are causing the Arctic regional security complex (RSC) that emerged in the post-Cold War period to fragment into distinct sub-regions. Rather than a single region characterized by common environmental and human security challenges, security in the Arctic is increasingly shaped by geopolitical factors related to the North American, European, and Eurasian regions, respectively. The result is the end of the Arctic as a holistic security region and the emergence of distinct sub-regional security challenges across different parts of the circumpolar world. This variation in conditions of security will contribute to the erosion of the circumpolar Arctic as a single, coherent region over the course of this century, and will strain the region’s governance architecture. The result is a circumpolar region that will be less distinctly ‘Arctic’ than in the past, as the cooperative nature of recent Arctic politics is replaced by adjacent security sub-regions characterized by great power competition and differing geopolitical and ecological considerations.
Digital technologies have become an integral part of everyday life for most inhabitants of the Arctic, diffusing so deep into society that even traditional activities are becoming digitised. All Arctic states have endorsed cybersecurity strategies, highlighting the significance that is attributed to digitalisation in today’s societies. Yet, these strategies reproduce a state-centric traditional security approach. Since digitalisation affects all spheres of human security, cybersecurity needs to be redefined in a more comprehensive way to be inclusive to challenges on the individual and community level. This paper discusses a digital security approach. Acknowledging the importance of software in contemporary information societies, this paper looks at how private and public software property regimes are related to digital security in an Arctic specific context. Following approaches from science and technology studies, with special attention to innovation research, this paper discusses the interrelations of proprietary software, open source software (OSS), and free and open source software (FOSS) approaches with digitalisation, considering the peculiarities of Arctic societies. The paper argues that FOSS provides advantages for the often small user base and niche markets of region specific applications, and thus utilising a FOSS approach promotes digital security in the Arctic.
Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv and Kara K. Hodgson
Since Mikhail Gorbachev’s icebreaking Murmansk speech in 1987, the Arctic has been considered to be an “exceptional” Since Mikhail Gorbachev’s icebreaking Murmansk speech in 1987, the Arctic has been considered to be an “exceptional” region of peace and cooperation in security studies. While acknowledging the relevance of this narrative, this article nevertheless argues the “Arctic exceptionalism” narrative is insufficient for understanding the complex security situation in the region. The lens of comprehensive security allows for an analysis of power that reveals which security narratives dominate, why, and who decides. After a brief description of the key elements associated with “Arctic Exceptionalism” and clarification of the terms“Arctic,” “security,” and “comprehensive security,” this article offers four core arguments against the dominance of the Arctic Exceptionalism narrative, and concludes that the comprehensive security approach provides a more nuanced and dynamic way of capturing the dynamic cooperative and competitive narratives of Arctic security today.
Ellen A. Ahlness
It is tempting for southern actors to imagine an Arctic that is separate from the challenges that define the rest of the world. From geopolitics to pollution, militarization to a loss of biodiversity, the complex events that span the globe highlight the desirability of identifying a region isolated from broader struggles. However, the very concept of an isolated or untouched region is a production, one of multiple human imaginaries of the region. While the Far North was, for long chapters in history, largely inaccessible to the majority of humanity, it has never fully been isolated or protected from the events and processes happening to its south. Arctic images created by and for southerners fundamentally shaped early—and inaccurate— imaginaries of the North. As societies and states move forward from 1909 to 2007 (both symbolic years in encountering the North Pole) and beyond, we find that social attitudes toward the Arctic are shaped by nostalgia. However, actors hold different nostalgia narratives which have been shaped by timelines emphasizing different key social, technological, and geophysical events. Three groups of Arctic actors are identified (policymakers, researchers, and extractionists) whose understandings and nostalgia of the Arctic are shaped by emphasis on different events within these timelines. Each category of actor utilizes their varying timelines in their policy rhetoric; however, each discourse has origins in the settler-colonialism frontiersmanship of the 19th and 20th centuries. Ultimately, divergent temporalities and imaginaries mobilize actors to pursue different socio-economic policies in the North.