1st Edition

Greenland and the International Politics of a Changing Arctic Postcolonial Paradiplomacy between High and Low Politics

    176 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Greenland and the International Politics of a Changing Arctic examines the international politics of semi-independent Greenland in a changing and increasingly globalised Arctic. Without sovereign statehood, but with increased geopolitical importance, independent foreign policy ambitions, and a solidified self-image as a trailblazer for Arctic indigenous peoples’ rights, Greenland is making its mark on the Arctic and is in turn affected – and empowered – by Arctic developments.

    The chapters in this collection analyse how a distinct Greenlandic foreign policy identity shapes political ends and means, how relations to its parent state of Denmark is both a burden and a resource, and how Greenlandic actors use and influence regional institutional settings as well as foreign states and commercial actors to produce an increasingly independent – if not sovereign – entity with aims and ambitions for regional change in the Arctic.

    This is the first comprehensive and interdisciplinary examination of Greenland’s international relations and how they are connected to wider Arctic politics. It will be essential reading for students and scholars interested in Arctic governance and security, international relations, sovereignty, geopolitics, paradiplomacy, indigenous affairs and anyone concerned with the political future of the Arctic.

    Introduction: Greenland and the International Politics of a Changing Arctic: Postcolonial Paradiplomacy between High and Low Politics

    Kristian Søby Kristensen and Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen

    1. Setting the Scene in Nuuk: Introducing the Cast of Characters in Greenlandic Foreign Policy Narratives

    Marc Jakobsen and Ulrik Pram Gad

    2. Independence through International Affairs: How Foreign Relations Shaped Greenlandic Identity Before 1979

    Jens Heinrich

    3. Greenlandic Sovereignty in Practice: Uranium, Independence and Foreign Relations in Greenland between Three Logics of Security

    Kristian Søby Kristensen and Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen

    4. The Arctic Turn: How did the High North become a Foreign and Security Policy Priority for Denmark?

    Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen

    5. Lightning Rod: US, Greenlandic and Danish Relations in the Shadow of Post-colonial Reputations

    Mikkel Runge Olsen

    6. Chinese Investments in Greenland: Promises and Risks as Seen from Nuuk, Copenhagen and Beijing

    Camilla T. N. Sørensen

    7. The Politics of Economic Security: Denmark, Greenland and Chinese Mining Investment

    Kevin Foley

    8. The Divergent Scalar Strategies of the Greenlandic Government and the Inuit Circumpolar Council

    Hannes Gerhardt

    9. Greenland and the Arctic Council: Subnational Regions in a Time of Arctic Westphalianisation

    Inuuteq Holm Olsen and Jessica M. Shadian

    10. Materializing Greenland within a Critical Arctic Geopolitics

    Klaus Dodds and Mark Nuttall

    Conclusion: The Opportunities and Challenges of Greenlandic Paradiplomacy

    Kristian Søby Kristensen and Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen


    Kristian Søby Kristensen is Deputy Director and Senior Researcher at the Center for Military Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. With a background in international relations, his academic interests are war and strategy, Arctic politics, Danish and European security and defence policy as well as issues of public safety and security.

    Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management at the University of Southern Denmark, where he is affiliated to the Center for War Studies. He holds a PhD in international relations (LSE) and has been affiliated to Columbia University and CSIS. His research interests include European security, Arctic politics, Danish foreign and security policy, and civil–military relations.