Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Articulating state identity: 'Peopling' the Arctic state

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ingrid A. MedbyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. A space in rapid flux, environmentally as well as geopolitically, the Arctic region has not tended to be seen as part of the imagined national “homeland” of the eight states with Arctic territories. Yet, in a time of climate change and increasing international attention to the region, the Arctic is at present re-narrated as a space embedded in sovereign statehood and national identity. Recognising the powerful purchase of identity discourses, of emotional attachment, and feelings of belonging, this paper asks: What does it mean to “be” or represent an Arctic state; how do identity discourses permeate among those tasked with the state's enactment on a daily basis, state personnel? This paper explores articulations of state identity by state practitioners in three of the eight Arctic states: Norway, Iceland, and Canada. In so doing, it develops an understanding of discourses of state identity as spatiotemporally regulated, articulated as geography and history; and yet, it shows how it always comes about through relations and encounters – across, beyond, and exceeding scales, from international relations to the intimately personal. Focusing on the performance of politics, the paper thereby highlights the constitutive role of the diverse practitioners behind the practice, the articulators, and performers. In short, it argues for “peopling” political geographical conceptualisations of the state, statecraft, and political practices. By seeing the state for its people, new avenues for interaction and dialogue may open up – new, radical ways of relating and participating in politics as, of, and by people.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Medby IA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2018

Volume: 62

Pages: 116-125

Print publication date: 01/01/2018

Online publication date: 06/11/2017

Acceptance date: 19/10/2017

Date deposited: 11/08/2021

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5096

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.10.008


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric