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Greenland in Arctic Security

(De)securitization Dynamics under Climatic Thaw and Geopolitical Freeze

Subjects: Political Science, Political Communication, Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies, International Relations, Political Theory
Open Access : 9780472904396, 382 pages, 4 tables, 32 figures, 6 x 9, February 2024
Paperback : 9780472056705, 382 pages, 4 tables, 32 figures, 6 x 9, February 2024
Hardcover : 9780472076703, 382 pages, 4 tables, 32 figures, 6 x 9, February 2024
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How a nation at the center of the Arctic region fits into security studies

Table of contents


List of illustrations and tables
1.    Introduction: Analyzing Greenland in Arctic security
Marc Jacobsen, Ole Wæver and Ulrik Pram Gad
2.    Dangerous ice: Exploring the scales of climate change macrosecuritization through the Greenland Ice Sheet
Kristian Søby Kristensen and Lin Alexandra Mortensgaard
3.    Security transfigurations across sectors: Animals, climate, and self-determination in Greenland
Ulrik Pram Gad, Lill Rastad Bjørst and Marc Jacobsen
4.    From Peary to Pompeo: The history of United States’ securitizations of Greenland
Marc Jacobsen and Sara Olsvig
5.    (De)securitizing discourse and action in political talk and media presentation: The announcement of the Russian Honorary Consul’s appointment in Greenland
Julia Zhukova Klausen
6.    How China left Greenland: Mutually reinforcing securitization policies and Chinese mining plans in Greenland
Patrik Andersson and Jesper Willaing Zeuthen
7.    Denmark’s security perspectives on USA, China, and Russia in Greenland: How great power threats made Danish politicians talk about independent Greenlandic agency
Marc Jacobsen and Signe Lyngholm Lindbjerg
8.    Greenland's desecuritization of security and defense
Ulrik Pram Gad, Sophie Rud, Marc Jacobsen and Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen
9.    Infrastructural (re)configurations and processes of (de)securitization: the fluctuating roles and positions of airports in Greenland
Frank Sejersen
10.    (De)securitization, independence, and normal politics in Kalaallit Nunaat and Inuit Nunangat
Nicholas Andrews, Joe Crowther and Wilfrid Greaves
11.    Conclusion: Learning from Greenland in Arctic security
Ulrik Pram Gad, Ole Wæver and Marc Jacobsen


Greenland has increasingly captivated imaginations around the globe. Yet, while it is central to the Arctic region, its role has been poorly understood. Greenland in Arctic Security delivers a comprehensive overview of how security dynamics unfold in and in relation to Greenland. Each individual chapter analyzes specific discourses and dynamics pertaining to hard or soft security questions. These span from great power interests in geostrategic infrastructure to domestic debates centered on promoting and protecting Greenland identity when engaging with the outside world. In addition, the book offers perspectives on other security questions that have been catalyzed by the effects of climate change.

By combining these different analyses, Greenland in Arctic Security provides new, theoretically informed discussions on how security politics can manifest across different scales and territorial borders. At times, these politics can have consequences beyond their original intent. With Greenland geopolitics and securitization theory of current interest to political and academic debates, this book offers timely insights for readers.

Marc Jacobsen is Assistant Professor at the Royal Danish Defence College.
Ole Wæver is Professor of International Relations at the University of Copenhagen, founder of the Centre for Advanced Security Theory, and Director of the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts.
Ulrik Pram Gad is a Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).

Greenland in Arctic Security makes a substantial empirical contribution to Arctic regional studies as an up-to-date and theoretically nuanced account of Greenland’s security politics. The focus on Greenland as a polity results in an important effort in IR theorizing to move beyond the prevalent European and North American cases upon which many IR concepts are built. This volume will be of interest to scholars and students of politics and security in the Arctic and beyond.”

- Elana Wilson Rowe, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

“The study of international relations has not come to terms with the scope and significance of climate change for the international system. This book represents a significant and serious effort to address this fundamental failing of the discipline. Marshaled together by the incomparable intellectual leadership of Jacobsen, Wæver, and Gad, the authors tackle the complexity of a rapidly changing political and geophysical world through the context of Greenland. The empirical and theoretical riches here, particularly the deployment of securitization theory, far transcend the focus on Greenland. As the discipline slowly comes around to addressing the social, political, and physical ramifications of climate change, this volume sets the standard.”

- Jarrod Hayes, University of Massachusetts Lowell

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