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... In the coverage, VK's journalist highlighted the praise the city received from a high official from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that "Umeå is a good example of a successful and innovative city in the Artic that has developed quickly in a positive way" (VK, 7 August 2019). 6 The place branding of Umeå as an Arctic town is relatively new and clearly associated with the growing importance of the Arctic as a geopolitical area of significance globally, not least due to the climate crisis (Christensen et al., 2013). ...
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The climate crisis concerns the whole fabric of society. Local journalism can play a key role when cities are handling the problems. In this article, I analyse local media discourses on climate change in four Swedish cities that aim to be role models in the transition towards carbon neutrality. A discourse analysis of news articles and op-eds about the climate, combined with semi-structured interviews with journalists working at four different local newspapers, shows that the climate crisis is covered in all newspapers – even if the amount and ambition varies – including the ability to fill key roles as watchdog and educator. The newsrooms’ climate focus also had to give way when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Local decisions about transportation, food, and urban development are common topics and often debated in the local press. However, the prize-winning cities’ ambitious green plans to become climate neutral already by 2030 remain vague for the journalists and probably also their readers.
... Arctic scholars have used these frames and methodologies to investigate media publications and political publications, speeches, and statements about the Arctic, with a focus on climate change as a catalyst of changing polar narrations. Recent literature has explored Arctic media and visuals through different Arctic national lenses like Russian and Canadian news reporting (Stoddart and Smith 2016;Wilson Rowe 2013;Gritsenko 2016); through the lens of securitization (Padrtova 2019); and through ice melt and climate change (Christensen et al. 2013;Bravo 2009;Klimenko et al. 2019). Hitherto, there has yet to be an investigation into Arctic Council visual narratives using the conceptual frameworks presented above: strategic narratives in communication; the esthetic turn of international relations; and critical geography of power-laden images. ...
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This article aims to delve deeper in the underexplored but critical role Arctic Council representations and visual images have played over its first 20 years of existence. Through a visual discourse narrative of Arctic Council publications and media platforms, the article will explore how the Artic Council’s self-constructed visual narrative has evolved over the past two decades, moving from a primarily environmentally focused narrative in 1996 to one imbued with political legitimacy and power in 2016 through strategic communications. The research is multidisciplinary and lends its foundation to four areas of study: (i) international relations, power, and the esthetic turn; (ii) art history, identity, power, and iconography; (iii) the history and production of science visuals in the history and philosophy of science; and (iv) geography, imagined geographies, and border studies. While the research is positioned primarily in the first of these areas, the so-called Esthetic Turn of International Relations, its analysis rests at the nexus of all four. By offering an analysis of 20 years of the strategic visual communication of the Arctic Council, this article aims to fill a gap in current scholarship with a case study of strategic communication strategies in visual imagery and political iconography in perceptions of Northern governance.
... More recently, the sea-ice minimum of 2007 caught by surprise scientists and politician alike. It became a 'meta-event' that has influenced expectations regarding geopolitical developments, off-shore resources, and shipping in the polar region (Christensen, Nilsson, & Wormbs, 2013). A third example is the 2008 crash of the Icelandic economy, which led to a major restructuring of the economy where the failed financial sector has been replaced by fish export, renewable energy, and a rapidly growing tourism industry (Huijbens, Jóhannesson, & Jóhannesson, 2014). ...
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Participatory scenario methodologies are increasingly used for studying possible future developments in the Arctic. They have the potential to contribute to several high-priority tasks for Arctic research, such as integration of indigenous and local knowledge in futures studies, providing a platform for activating Arctic youth in shaping their futures, identifying Arctic-relevant indicators for sustainable development, and supporting decision-making towards sustainable futures. Yet, to achieve this potential, several methodological challenges need to be addressed. These include attention to whose voices are amplified or silenced in participatory research practices, with special attention to diversification and the engagement of youth. Given the historic and potential future role of disruptive events for Arctic development trajectories, methods are needed in participatory scenario exercises to include attention to the dynamics and consequences of such events and regime shifts. Participatory scenarios can also be further improved through approaches that effectively combine qualitative and quantitative information. Finally, there is a need for systematic studies of how the results of scenario exercises influence decision-making processes. This article elaborates on ways in which attention to these aspects can help make scenarios more robust for assessing a diversity of potential Arctic futures in times of rapid environmental and social change.
... Climate-centered historical studies, many of which include compelling case studies appear from virtually all corners of the world. The Arctic and the North Atlantic have become hotspots of climate change science and meteorology since the late nineteenth century, thanks to the work of the Bergen school of meteorology and comprehensive studies of glaciers and sea ice measurements (Friedman 1989, Sörlin 2009a, Christensen et al. 2013. We ...
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This introduction to a special issue of Climatic Change argues that it is timely and welcome to intensify historical research into climate change and climate as factors of history. This is also already an ongoing trend in many disciplines. The article identifies two main strands in historical work on climate change, both multi-disciplinary: one that looks for it as a driver of historical change in human societies, the other that analyzes the intellectual and scientific roots of the climate system and its changes. In presenting the five papers in this special issue the introduction argues that it is becoming increasingly important to also situate “historicizing climate change” within the history of thought and practice in wider fields, as a matter of intellectual, political, and social history and theory. The five papers all serve as examples of intellectual, political, and social responses to climate-related phenomena and their consequences (ones that have manifested themselves relatively recently and are predominantly attributable to anthropogenic climate change). The historicizing work that these papers perform lies in the analysis of issues that are rising in societies related to climate change in its modern anthropogenic version. The history here is not so much about past climates, although climate change itself is always directly or indirectly present in the story, but rather about history as the social space where encounters take place and where new conditions for humans and societies and their companion species and their life worlds in natures and environments are unfolding and negotiated. With climate change as a growing phenomenon historicizing climate change in this version will become increasingly relevant.
... The ever-increasing number and complexity of international organisations, legal agreements, and norms that relate to the Arctic is also increasingly scrutinised by Arctic researchers [21] especially concerning the marine Arctic [22][23][24][25][26]. The role of the (international) media in the presentation of climate change, and the framing of current and future Arctic narratives, is an interesting new field of research [27,28]. Finally, cultural globalisation in the form of global, or predominantly western, cultural trends like certain consumption patterns, increasing usage of information technology, and emancipated orientations towards gender equality, participation, and protest cultures increasingly penetrate and socially and culturally transform Arctic societies [18, pp. ...
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This review article makes six observations about the current body of research on the societal impacts of a changing Arctic. First, climate change and globalisation are the dominant drivers of societal impacts in the Arctic. Second, many contributions focus on the impacts in concrete sectors of society, often from an opportunities-and-risks perspective, which tends to blur the boundary to more policy-oriented work. Third, the mantra of the sustainable development of the Arctic or Arctic sustainability pervades considerations of Arctic societal impacts. Fourth, societal and environment change in the Arctic is increasingly analysed using the image of the Global Arctic, highlighting the inextricable linkages between Arctic and global processes and systems and thus the entangled fate of the North and the entire globe. Fifth, an increasing number of actors is seen as being involved in societal and environmental transformations in the Arctic, often conveyed through the (often ill-defined) stakeholder concept. Sixth, Arctic indigenous peoples are depicted as the group most vulnerable to the societal impacts of a changing Arctic, but are increasingly the subject of research in the form of rights-holders and active participants in governance, law, politics, and research. Challenges for future research include achieving greater clarity and reflexivity around key concepts, and de-essentialising the Arctic via the use of comparative methods on cases both within and beyond the Arctic.
... In the climate discourse, the 2007 sea-ice minimum served as a meta-event and a starting point for increasing global attention to the region (Christensen, Nilsson, & Wormbs, 2013). It coincided with increasing attention on the rights under UNCLOS to resources on the continental shelf, and efforts by several countries to provide scientific documentation of the seabed to back up claims about the outer limits of their extended continental shelf. ...
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The United States has sometimes been called a reluctant Arctic actor, but during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2015–2017) the US engaged as an active proponent of Arctic cooperation, using the region as a showcase for strong global climate policy. This paper places US Arctic policy development during the Obama presidency within a longer time perspective, with a focus on how US interests towards the region have been formulated in policies and policy statements. The paper uses frame analysis to identify overarching discourses and discusses the extent to which certain themes and political logics recur or shift over time. It highlights economic development and national competitiveness as a prominent recurring frame, but also that the policy discourse has moved from nation-building and military security towards a broader security perspective, with attention to energy supply for the US, and more recently also to the implications of climate change. Over time, there is a clear shift from reluctance towards Arctic regional cooperation to embracing it. Moreover, it highlights how different stands in relation to climate change have affected Arctic cooperation in the past and may do so again in the future.
... The transnational scale, which includes both translocal and global aspects, presupposes scalar transcendence (Christensen, 2013), transgressing the otherwise often dominating national and international scales as well as the solely local/regional scale. Hence, scalar transcendence permeates cultural journalism. ...
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Cultural journalism is a unique and underresearched subfield of journalism. This article presents the first systematic study of Swedish cultural journalism, quantitatively mapping content from four decades, zooming in on the years 1985, 1995, 2005, and 2015. We study conceptions of the world outside Sweden during times marked by geopolitical turning points, globalization, and rapid structural transformations in the journalistic market. Employing content analysis of a representative sample from the press and public service radio, we explore geographical and scalar aspects, with a focus on political and global dimensions. Although we found evidence for Eurocentrism and domestication—staples of Western journalism overall—results show that Swedish cultural journalism was a steady conveyor of transnational narratives during all studied periods, which together with a primarily nonconflictual approach, sets cultural journalism apart from foreign news and decreases the risk of misframing in a globalized world. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/8228/2307
Chapter
This chapter explores how Arctic boundaries are being reconceived by external states claiming a stake in the region’s future. The telecoupling concept is employed to analyse multiple inter-latitudinal linkages that non-Arctic states mobilize in stakeholder narratives intended to legitimate their participation in Arctic governance and development. Through analysis of government documents and public pronouncements of non-Arctic states seeking to remain or become Arctic Council observers, the stakeholder narratives’ constituent elements—termed “legitimizers”—are identified, categorized and compared within and between European and Asian states. Reminiscent of Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s “polar Mediterranean” metaphor, the region that emerges from these narratives is characterized by telecouplings that legitimate and link mid-latitude states to the Far North, suggesting a Telecoupled Arctic extending far beyond traditional geographic conceptions of the Arctic.
Chapter
This chapter provides an analysis of the discourses that shaped the international cooperation in the Arctic Council when it consolidated its role as an organization at the centre of Arctic governance. With an empirical focus on how Arctic national strategies and Arctic Council documents discuss “security” and “sustainable development,” the chapter highlights a shift away from an environmental focus to increasing emphasis on how to best support economic development. This shift is mirrored in the Arctic Council’s Kiruna Vision from 2013, where a “safe Arctic” with peace, stability and cooperation is assumed to spur economic development. Paraphrasing the idea that political ambitions relating to environmental change should focus on ensuring safe operating space for humanity, this chapter summarizes the development as creating a safe operating space for business.
Book
Media and Transnational Climate Justice captures the intriguing nexus of globalization, crisis, justice, activism and news communication, at a time when radical measures are increasingly demanded to address one of the most pressing global issues: climate change. Anna Roosvall and Matthew Tegelberg take a unique approach to climate justice by focusing on transnational rather than international aspects, thereby contributing to the development of theories of justice for a global age, as well as in relation to media studies. The book specifically explores the roles, situations and activism of indigenous peoples who do not have full representation at UN climate summits despite being among those most exposed to injustices pertaining to climate change, as well as to injustices relating to politics and media coverage. This book thus scrutinizes political and ideological dimensions of the global phenomenon of climate change through interviews and observations with indigenous activists at UN climate summits, in combination with extensive empirical research conducted on legacy and social media coverage of climate change and indigenous peoples. The authors conclude by discussing transnational solidarity and suggest a solidarian mode of communication as a response to both the global crisis of climate change and the broader issues of injustice faced by indigenous peoples regarding redistribution, recognition and political representation.
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Nationally representative surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009 found significant declines in Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists. Several potential explanations for the declines are explored, including the poor state of the economy, a new administration and Congress, diminishing media attention, and abnormal weather. The analysis also specifically examines the impact of Climategate – an international scandal resulting from the unauthorized release of emails between climate scientists in England and United States. The results demonstrate that Climategate had a significant effect on public beliefs in global warming and trust in scientists. The loss of trust in scientists, however, was primarily among individuals with a strongly individualistic worldview or politically conservative ideology. Nonetheless, Americans overall continue to trust scientists more than other sources of information about global warming.