The Island that came in from the Cold: Greenland, Climate Change, and the Scramble for the Arctic

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One way to begin to unpack the title for this paper is with a reminder of how central Greenland has actually been to what for lack of better words could be called ‘global narratives’. We know global narratives are never really global even if they have a potential global scope, they are driven by power centres, which in the process of achieving a global reach inscribes cultures, regions, continents in their orbit. Another way of approaching this is to relocate the narrative’s point of origin to its points of impact – and see how the global narrative unfolds seen from that perspective. This is what I seek to do with this paper.
The post-contact history of Greenland between indigenous/Inuit peoples and whites can be narrated as different forms of colonialism; exploration colonialism (beginning perhaps with the Vikings, and if not then with the search for the Northwest Passage), followed by mercantile and religious forms of colonialism, then by administrative colonialism, cold war colonialism, ‘modernisation’ colonialism – and now resource driven neoliberal colonialism. But we can also ask the more provocative question: Is climate change discourse a form of colonialism? In many parts of the global south, it is seen as such. As a way for the West to preserve its privileges against the rising new economies. In Greenland this is also part of the narrative against which nation-building is projected. Paradoxically, perhaps since climate change will have a huge impact on a vulnerable society such as Greenland, sitting in the part of the world that will see some of the most dramatic changes to its geography, and its way of life. What forms of contemporary Greenlandic agency can be identified and how do they relate to prevailing global narratives?
Publikationsdatojun. 2014
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2014
BegivenhedMeteorologies of Modernity Climate Change and Weather in the Contexts of Postcolonialism and Globalization: Postcolonial Europe Network Conference - Munich University, München, Tyskland
Varighed: 26 jun. 201428 jun. 2014


KonferenceMeteorologies of Modernity Climate Change and Weather in the Contexts of Postcolonialism and Globalization
LokationMunich University


  • Greenland, postcolonialism, resources, scramble for the Arctic, climate change

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