Greenland geopolitics in the light of renewed Arctic attention

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Marc Jacobsen


DKK 800,962




Internationalisation Fellowships


This research project examines how Greenland geopolitics are formed by externally imposed military and science diplomatic activities which activate new and recurring understandings of security and sovereignty across different scales and sectors. By studying the three cases of the Thule Air Base, the Sirius Patrol and the planned research hub in Nuuk, this project will result in new knowledge about the underlying reasons and potential consequences of these geopolitically important installations, hence contributing with novel understandings of how to better balance needs and considerations in future research and decision-making regarding Greenland and the Arctic.


Trump’s idea of purchasing Greenland drew renewed attention to the geostrategic significance of the Arctic and revealed widespread misunderstandings of Greenland’s current constitutional status. The idea was fostered in an understanding of the Arctic as “a potential avenue for great power competition and aggression” in which Greenland is seen as a geostrategically important piece. This development displayed a gap in our understanding of the Arctic as an exceptionally peaceful and stable region isolated from global security dynamics, while it gave rise to Greenlandic discussions about how to benefit from the renewed attention without causing amplified security implications. In this light, the present project will examine existing and emerging security and sovereignty questions in Greenland.


Through interviews with key actors, close readings of ministerial meeting transcripts and ethnographic observations, the analyses will expose understandings and manifestations of hierarchies and purposes, hence leading to new knowledge about the underlying reasons and possible consequences of some of Greenland's most geopolitically important installations. Theoretically, securitization and scaling will be the primary tools for parsing how specific security and science installations are justified and, related, how configurations of sovereignty are legitimized.

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