Arctic governance

Power in cross-border Cooperation

Elana Wilson Rowe
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The volume explores a question that sheds light on the contested, but largely cooperative, nature of Arctic governance in the post-Cold War period: How do power relations matter – and how have they mattered – in shaping cross-border cooperation and diplomacy in the Arctic? Through carefully selected case studies – from Russia’s role in the Arctic Council to the diplomacy of indigenous peoples’ organisations – this book seeks to shed light on how power performances are enacted constantly to shore up Arctic cooperation in key ways. The conceptually driven nature of the enquiry makes the book appropriate reading for courses in international relations and political geography, while the carefully selected case studies lend themselves to courses on Arctic politics.


‘Elana Wilson Rowe offers a refreshing and awaited perspective on the issue of Arctic governance, far from conventional black and white shortcuts. By deciphering how power relations and diplomatic behaviours have evolved in the framework of Arctic cooperation, she guides us toward new approaches of what power and power relations mean in a multilateral framework based on states' social negotiation. A must read for all those who want to understand what is happening in the Arctic, a new global social site for twenty-first-century century institutions.'
Marlene Laruelle, George Washington University

‘In this important and beautifully written book, Wilson Rowe displays a mastery of Arctic politics and governances. Arctic Governance offers a rare analysis of how power actually works in an international system whose unique reputation rests on international cooperation. A masterful guide to understanding the workings of the Arctic, this is my book of the year!'
Michael Bravo, University of Cambridge

‘This book provides a timely and important illustration of how power relations have mattered for shaping cross-border cooperation and diplomacy in the post-Cold War Arctic. The volume demonstrates how the region is shaped by complex performances of power, on the basis of which hierarchies are erected not only between states but also between indigenous peoples, economic actors, science institutions and environmental NGOs. The author convincingly argues that this circumpolar complexity cannot be thoroughly analysed with great power/small state or conflict/co-operation dichotomies and instead provides the reader with a set of carefully selected concepts that do justice to how power is enacted in various levels of cross-border governance of the Arctic.'
Timo Koivurova, University of Lapland

‘This is an important and valuable addition to our understanding of Arctic governance—both conceptually and substantively.
January 2020

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