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Published: 13 Mar, 2020

New publication: Handbook of Arctic Security

NEWS The recently published Routledge Handbook of Arctic Security examines security in the Arctic casting a wide analytical net over state-based and militarized as well as broader security perspectives involving climatic, environmental, economic and social issues.

Text: Anngelica Kristoferqvist

The editors carefully point out that development in the Arctic, regardless of which perspective the reader favors, is both driven by and highly sensitive to politics and political decision making. Such is the history of the region and by all accounts its future. In the Arctic, as they point out in their introductory chapter, some things change while others do not.

Vice Director of the Arctic Research Center at Umeå University, Niklas Eklund, has contributed to the Handbook with a chapter on Sweden. “Sweden”, he says “is an interesting but difficult case to introduce from a state-based security perspective. Before 2011, the country didn’t even have a policy on Arctic affairs and it is almost as if the Swedish government woke up one day, realizing that even the EU started taking an interest in developments in the region. On the eve of Sweden’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council something had to be done and, back in 2011-2013, the Swedish government was fortunate to create success using a soft political agenda.  Since then, international competition and hard security have crept back in, and the really interesting thing about Sweden is that we don’t seem to have internal political drivers toward a wider discussion about Arctic security, what it is and how it affects the country. We seem to remain, in state-based terms and in the eyes of others, a Baltic Sea Area nation.”

Perspectives differ widely even between the Nordic countries, not to mention between actors on other social levels, such as indigenous peoples, interest groups and industries. For anybody with an interest in the benefits and potential pitfalls of current security affairs and politics in the Arctic, the 442 pages of this Handbook come highly recommended. 

You can find the book here.