Foreword [chapter]

Peter Schweitzer
2022 Risky Futures  
Environmental and geopolitical discussions about the future of humanity have recently centred on the Arctic. This development can be seen as having been triggered by a bundle of complex interconnections, ranging from the rapidity of Arctic climate change to the multitude of untapped resources in the North to the technological advances enabling their extraction. These developments are being framed by political processes including signs of a new Cold War and uneven steps toward indigenous
more » ... ermination. While the Circumpolar North has emerged as a projection site for southern dreams of resource extraction, marine shipping, or -alternativelywilderness protection, lived realities within the Arctic are far from homogeneous. It was only in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, that the romantic notion of a Circumpolar North as a shared space, not only with similar environmental conditions but also with comparable social and cultural challenges, took a firm hold. Before that, the dichotomy between a Soviet Arctic and the rest prevented such shared points of view. And yet those lived realities continue to reflect stark contrasts in social and political processes. It is not just the rising political tensions between the Russian Federation and the 'West' that threatens a unified Arctic perspective. Within the Circumpolar North, as the chapters in the present volume clearly illustrate, local and regional developments and living conditions seem not to be developing in parallel. Again, processes of political centralization and authoritarian
doi:10.1515/9781800735941-002 fatcat:gqynpgu3bvb6zgbpk3jndbt7yi