Postgraduate Dissertation

Arctic Militarization: A Security dilemma?


The purpose of this study is to provide a constructivist perspective regarding developments in the Arctic. Climate change and the ambition of resource extraction has led to Arctic littoral states tightening their grip on the Arctic region. The debate regarding the prospects of the region has been dominated by neorealist and neoliberal arguments concerning whether there is a new Cold War brewing or not. With the objective to provide a more nuanced analysis, this study brings identity, history and social factors to the debate. Accordingly, the study answers the following research question: “Arctic Militarization: A Security Dilemma?”. The study introduces its use of theory; the concept of militarization, the security dilemma, constructivism’s take on the security dilemma, identity and cooperation. The study then analyzes Norway and Russia individually, before discussing the relationship between the two states. The study finds that Norway, as a small Arctic state, saw the need to re-brand their Arctic identity in order to pursue further influence amongst the other Arctic states. Further, Norway sees Russia increasingly as a threat due to events unfolding in other regions. Russia, often being the “other”, perceives Norway and NATO as a threat due to historical events. Russia’s national interests and economic prospects in the Arctic are essential for Russia’s quest to reclaim their identity as a global power. The study concludes that, although Norway and Russia have a unique level of cooperation on several platforms, there are evidence of a security dilemma taking place. However, this can be elucidated through constructivist elements such as identity and history. The strength of their cooperation has a spillover effect into security related issues, which might be a central element in the future developments in the Arctic. Key words: The Arctic, Norway, Russia, militarization, security dilemma, constructivism.

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Olsen, Sigrid Elise Dalberg


Rights Holders: Olsen, Sigrid Elise Dalberg
Supervisors: Ford, Lucy

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences

Degree programme

MA International Security



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