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Ethnography of Northern Landscapes

Type of project
01.09.2013 -> 31.08.2017

This project has been completed

About the project

The project maps and investigates existing and potential vitality of remote Arctic communities, with fieldwork to be completed in the Barents region, and in particular in the Varangerfjord Region (Vardø, Kirkenes) of the Kingdom of Norway, and in the Murmansk Oblast of the Russian Federation (Murmansk, Nikel).

In facing the challenges and opportunities of the future Arctic, bringing local voices to the fore reveals the most relevant components of the built and social environment. This doctoral research was conducted mainly in Kirkenes, Norway, and Nikel, Russia, at the Norwegian-Russian borderland, which is very much a shared landscape and a particular milieu of transnational physical, social and cultural attributes. I combined classical ethnographic tools with social media and participatory mapping of ideas. Emerging from this were perspectives on landscape and participation that vary from hope and collaboration to confusion and conflict ­some dream of oil and mineral wealth, others of sustainable developments. The landscape future is ensnared in conflicting political positions, within communities themselves but also across international borders. This work highlights the dissonance and potential that exists between these civic ambitions and current mechanisms of engagement or agency.


This PhD dissertation is a part of the Future North project.