Book Chapter

Sustaining the Arctic Nation State: The Case of Norway, Iceland, and Canada


The aim of ensuring Arctic sustainability seems universally agreed upon – even if the aim remains both undefined and contested in terms of sustainability of what, where, how, and by whom. The eight Arctic states – the full members of the Arctic Council with territory north of the Arctic Circle – not only hold particular rights here, but also particular responsibilities; among these is arguably a key role in ensuring Arctic sustainability. The title of ‘Arctic state’ is to be actively performed, and in the process becomes tied to questions of ‘who we are’ as a nation state. This chapter explores how discourses of sustainability become tied to those of national identity in the Arctic states, and in the process, the former comes to reproduce and reify the latter. Focusing on three of the eight Arctic states – Norway, Iceland, and Canada – the chapter draws on interviews with state personnel about their sense of an ‘Arctic identity’. Through their statements of ‘sustainable’ practices demonstrative of an identity – a seemingly inherent characteristic of the national community – they also indirectly ‘sustain’ the image and idea of the nation state itself.

Attached files


Medby, Ingrid

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Culture


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-11-15

All rights reserved.

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Sustaining the Arctic Nation State: The Case of Norway, Iceland, and Canada
This RADAR resource is Part of The politics of sustainability in the Arctic: Reconfiguring identity, space, and time / edited by Ulrik Pram Gad, Jeppe Strandsbjerg. (ISBN: 9781138491830)


  • Owner: Unknown user
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live