Science, Geopolitics and Culture in the Polar Region: Norden beyond Borders
Throughout the twentieth century, glaciologists and geophysicists from Denmark, Norway andSweden made important scientific contributions across the Arctic and Antarctic. This research was of acute security and policy interest during the Cold War, as knowledge of the polar regions assumed military importance. But scientists also helped make the polar regionsNordic spaces in a cultural and political sense, with scientists from Norden punching far above their weight in terms of population, geographical size or economic activity. This volume presents an image of Norden that stretches far beyond its conventional limits,covering a vast area in the North Atlantic and the Arctic Sea, as well as parts of Antarctica. Rich in resources, scarce in population, but critically important in global and regional geopolitics, these spaces were contested by major powers such as Russia, the United States, Canada and, in the Antarctic, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and others. The empirical focus on Danish, Norwegian and Swedish influence in the polar regions during the twentieth century embraces a diverse array of themes, from the role of science in policy and diplomacy to the tensions between nationalism and internationalism, with clear relevance to the important role science plays in contemporary discussions about Nordic engagement with the polar regions.
This chapter describes the crucial role that the circulation of knowledge between the Nordic countries and Russia has played in understanding spatial and temporal distribution patterns for valuable fish resources in the Barents Sea. It shows the importance of the Nordiccountries to the establishment of marine and fisheries studies, especially Norway – with its pioneering Bergen School, which led to the formation of modern meteorology and oceanography. This story covers a long period, from the formation of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on the eve of the 20th century to the establishment of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission in 1976. This chapter is based on documents from Russian and Scandinavian archives and on sources published in Russian that are little known internationally.
This chapter is a first attempt to study the development of different kind of field stations in the western sector of the Russian Arctic in theperiod from the First to Second International Polar Years (1882 - 1933). As more or less independent entities, marine biological and polar meteorological stations were on different sides of the process but were interconnected through the people involved and the filed research practices implemented.Three major concerns influenced the development of field studies in the Russian Arctic – navigation, demands for the efficient use of natural resources and the political–military strategy of keeping land and their surrounding seas under Soviet control. Stations gradually moved further north from the sub-Arctic to the Arctic islands.The scientific network in the Arctic was initially established through the confrontation between interrelated sites of knowledge – field stations and research vessels – before their merger and placement in the same centralized network, which subsequently became very efficient with the introduction of aviation. The stations were not just crucial places for knowledge production but also places for the transfer of scientific, primarily tacit, knowledge about observations and laboratory analysis. They also maintained a specific culture of field sciences. By the time of the Second IPY in the Soviet Arctic, a distinct shift could be seen from broad international cooperation to a centralized national network and from scientific, educational and local economic objectives to military, geopolitical and broader economic interests.