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Arctic identity interactions: Reconfiguring dependency in Greenland's and Denmark's foreign policies

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This PhD dissertation investigates how Greenland’s and Denmark’s foreign policy identities interact in the light of the renewed global geopolitical attention towards the Arctic. A development, which is used to enhance their common and distinct positions in international politics, where their roles as key Arctic actors offer opportunities to have more frequent, direct interactions with the world’s most powerful state leaders. Something which is not common for a small state like Denmark and even rarer for a self-governing territory such as Greenland. Whereas the Arctic is discursively highlighted in foreign policy identities of the two countries, it is so to quite different extends: In Greenland, it is ubiquitous and inevitable to the prevailing collective identity representation as well as in paradiplomatic relations to the outside world. In Denmark, the status as an Arctic state is conditioned upon Greenland’s geographic location and continuous membership of the Danish Realm. This difference reconfigures the dependency between the former colony and colonizer: It gives Greenland representatives an ‘Arctic advantage’ in the postcolonial negotiations, as to remain an Arctic state, Denmark must maintain the Danish Realm. This advantage is used to enhance Greenland’s foreign policy autonomy and to alter the relationship towards one of more equality. At the same time, the Government of Greenland welcomes the increased international Arctic attention as an opportunity to diversify dependency beyond Denmark, hence reducing the relevance of the Danish Realm and enhancing Greenland’s agency in international politics. How Greenland’s and Denmark’s foreign policy representatives (inter)act - together and separately - in discursive Arctic contexts is examined through five different articles. These focus on discourse and praxis within the Arctic Council, circumpolar conferences and concrete tri- and bilateral relations, but also how e.g. proposed mining projects and questions of sustainability activate postcolonial nuances about who has the ultimate right to decide. As such, all the articles contribute to a better understanding of Greenland’s and Denmark’s Arctic affairs, while some of them are also part of other academic advancements contributing with new theoretically informed perspectives on circumpolar security developments and new understandings of how the concept of sustainability is used politically in the Arctic.
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... Grønlandsk politisk identitet har på lange straek vaeret formet ikke bare af forholdet til Danmark, men i mindst lige så høj grad af forholdet til den bredere omverden og Danmarks forsøg på at holde det under kontrol (Heinrich, 2018;Petersen, 2006). De postkoloniale dynamikker internt i Rigsfaellesskabet har derfor de seneste godt og vel 15 år vaeret taet forbundne til udviklingen i Arktis (Jacobsen, 2019a). Forbindelsen går begge veje: For Grønlands ambition om øget selvstaendighed er det centralt at sprede sine relationer til omverdenen ud og selv tage kontrol med dem. ...
Article
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2021 bringer mindst to gode grunde til at udgive et temanummer om Rigsfællesskabets arktiske relationer. For det første er det 300 år siden, at Hans Egede gik i land på Haabets Ø – lidt uden for nutidens Nuuk – og dermed påbegyndte den kolonisering af Grønland, som stadig sætter rammerne for alle diskussioner af forholdet til Danmark. For det andet er det planen, at Danmarks, Grønlands og Færøernes regeringer skal blive enige om en fælles arktisk strategi i år.
... Et balancepunkt, der vil blive udgangspunkt for den fortsatte udvikling af, hvordan Danmark, Grønland og Faerøerne fremover forfølger forstaerket regional indflydelse -hver isaer og sammen. Denne artikel er en opdateret, omformuleret, oversat og mindre teoretisk version af en artikel (Jacobsen 2019a), som indgik i min ph.d.-afhandling(Jacobsen, 2019b). Analysen fra 2018 og frem er helt ny og indgår i min nuvaerende post.doc., finansieret af Carlsbergfondet. ...
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Denne artikel undersøger, hvordan politiske beslutningstagere diskursivt har positioneret Danmark i relation til Arktis, som i dag er én af regeringens højeste udenrigspolitiske prioriteringer. Analysen viser, hvordan diskursen i perioden 2006-2020 har gennemgået flere skift, der hver især vægter de eksterne ambitioner i regionen og de interne hensyn i rigsfællesskabet på forskellig vis. Fra udelukkende at fokusere på det dansk-grønlandske forhold betonede man senere i stedet det regionale udsyn. Det indebar, at Danmarks autoritet blev fremhævet, mens de to andre rigsdeles internationale agens blev nedtonet. I takt med en mere eksplicit erkendelse af, at rigsfællesskabets sammenhængskraft er forudsætningen for Danmarks status som en arktisk stat, er Færøerne og Grønlands betydning blevet mere anerkendt. Det har resulteret i stadig større enighed på tværs af det politiske spektrum om, at et mere ligeværdigt forhold er værd at stræbe efter. En udvikling, der ikke mindst er blevet tilskyndet af omverdenens stigende opmærksomhed.
... Grønlandsk politisk identitet har på lange straek vaeret formet ikke bare af forholdet til Danmark, men i mindst lige så høj grad af forholdet til den bredere omverden og Danmarks forsøg på at holde det under kontrol (Heinrich, 2018;Petersen, 2006). De postkoloniale dynamikker internt i Rigsfaellesskabet har derfor de seneste godt og vel 15 år vaeret taet forbundne til udviklingen i Arktis (Jacobsen, 2019a). Forbindelsen går begge veje: For Grønlands ambition om øget selvstaendighed er det centralt at sprede sine relationer til omverdenen ud og selv tage kontrol med dem. ...
Article
Full-text available
2021 bringer mindst to gode grunde til at udgive et temanummer om Rigsfællesskabets arktiske relationer. For det første er det 300 år siden, at Hans Egede gik i land på Haabets Ø – lidt uden for nutidens Nuuk – og dermed påbegyndte den kolonisering af Grønland, som stadig sætter rammerne for alle diskussioner af forholdet til Danmark. For det andet er det planen, at Danmarks, Grønlands og Færøernes regeringer skal blive enige om en fælles arktisk strategi i år. Disse to begivenheder tilskynder til på én gang at reflektere over, hvad Rigsfællesskabet kommer af, og se frem mod nye muligheder for international profilering, sammen og hver for sig. Rigsfællesskabet udgør fundamentet for Danmarks status som en arktisk stat, og indtil de grønlandske vælgere beslutter noget andet, udgør den danske stat Grønlands fundament for at optræde internationalt. Dette temanummer tilbyder læseren en række artikler, som giver indsigt i de interne dynamikker i Rigsfællesskabet – som på mange måder bliver mere og mere indviklede, efterhånden som Grønland agerer mere og mere selvstændigt – og i den udvikling i Arktis, som udgør en ikke uvæsentlig del af baggrunden for, at Rigsfællesskabet i disse år er under forandring.
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Rapporten viser, at den nuværende udvikling i Arktis, der er præget af stormagtsrivalisering mellem Rusland, Kina og USA, sætter Kongeriget i en svær situation. Som en lille stat har Kongeriget draget fordel af perioden med sikkerhedspolitisk lavspænding i Arktis. Den sikkerhedspolitiske lavspænding er nu under pres. Det er i Kongerigets interesse at forsøge at værne om de arktiske fora og samarbejdsrelationer, der har gjort lavspændingen muligt. Kongeriget må imidlertid også forholde sig til de nye sikkerhedspolitiske dynamikker i Arktis. Dette skaber behov for ændrede tilgange både i forhold til stormagterne og deres interesser i Arktis og i forhold til samarbejdet i Rigsfællesskabet. Kongeriget må arbejde på at imødegå bekymrende russisk og kinesisk adfærd i Arktis. Endnu mere presserende for Kongeriget er imidlertid at håndtere de nylige amerikanske reaktioner på russisk og kinesisk adfærd i Arktis og ikke mindst de nye amerikanske krav og forventninger til dansk opgaveløsning i regionen, som følger med. Her bør Kongeriget handle hurtigt og proaktivt søge at holde kontrol med den amerikanske politik i forhold til Grønland og Færøerne. Det er i den forbindelse centralt, at Rigsfællesskabet formår at opretholde en fælles linje overfor stormagterne.
Thesis
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