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Landscape, Tradition and Power in Medieval Iceland

Dalir and the Eyjafjörður region c.870-c.1265

Chris Callow

Chris Callow’s Landscape, Tradition and Power critically examines the evidence for socio-political developments in medieval Iceland during the so-called Commonwealth period. The book compares regions in the west and north-east of Iceland because these regions had differing human and physical geographies, and contrasting levels of surviving written evidence. Callow sets out the likely economies and institutional frameworks in which political action took place. He then examines different forms of evidence – the Contemporary sagas, Landnámabók (The Book of Settlements), and Sagas of Icelanders – considering how each describes different periods of the Commonwealth present political power. Among its conclusions the book emphasises stasis over change and the need to appreciate the nuances and purposes of Iceland’s historicising sagas.
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Edited by Kamrul Hossain, Jose Miguel Roncero Martin and Anna Petrétei

Human and Societal Security in the Circumpolar Arctic addresses a comprehensive understanding of security in the Arctic, with a particular focus on one of its sub-regions – the Barents region. The book presents a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective to which the Arctic is placed as referent, and special attention is paid to the viewpoint of local and indigenous communities. Overarching topics of human and societal security are touched upon from various angles and disciplinary approaches, The discussions are framed in the broader context of security studies. The volume specifically addresses the challenges facing the Arctic population which are important to be looked at from human security perspectives.
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Julia Loginova

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This paper explores how communities affected by crude oil development seek greater human and societal security. A relational approach, informed by a relational justice perspective, is suggested to examine community experiences of interaction with the state and oil companies. The approach is operationalized through a case study from Pripechor’e in northwestern Russia. The focus is on the efforts of Komi-Izhma communities and an ethnic movement Izvatas to secure their rights in the face of expanding oil industry in the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province, an important oil producing area in the Barents region. Oil development affected access to land, clean water and biological resources, critical for livelihoods, as well as human and animal health. Fieldwork in 2015 suggests that while community actors consider themselves empowered, they experience relational injustice in interaction with powerful actors. The lack of guaranteed rights and limited formal options for dispute resolution have altered the spaces of securitization, with communities claiming some of their rights from an oil company rather than the state. Therefore, the underlying social and political structures and processes, through which relations between local communities and other actors develop, must be considered in the analysis of communities pursuing greater human and societal security.

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Kamrul Hossain, José Miguel Roncero Martín and Anna Petrétei

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Edited by Kamrul Hossain, José Miguel Roncero Martín and Anna Petrétei

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Kamrul Hossain and Anna Petrétei

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The Arctic is largely a geographically defined region. In terms of territory, the region is politically divided into eight fragmented areas, each of which is administered by the national jurisdiction of a state. At times, the inhabitants’ Arctic societal identity is in conflict with their so-called national or civic-identity, determined by citizenship. Even though the Arctic is not a homogenous region, it shares similar characteristics, in terms of climatic conditions, livelihood practices, and the presence of culturally unique groups (e.g., indigenous and tribal groups). In this chapter, we endeavor to determine how the Artic identity is formed within a transnational setting and what values are to be protected and promoted for the Arctic societal identity to exist and perpetuate. To this end, we employ a case study on extractive industrial developments in Fennoscandia. We show how, on the one hand, mining development brings economic incentives to the society and promotes its material values, but on the other hand, it adversely or disproportionately affects the local population by threatening the region’s traditional societal characteristics. We explore how an Arctic society in Fennoscandia promotes its societal security in the event of extractive industrial developments, by adopting measures essential to the society’s stable functioning and sustainability.

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Wilfrid Greaves

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This chapter examines the role of colonialism in constituting the region of Norden and the modern state of Norway. It argues that complex historical relationships of political domination between Norway, Denmark and Sweden – and of Sámi people by these states, Finland, and Russia – are key for understanding Norwegian state-formation and the construction of the Norway’s national interests in the ‘High North’. The first section outlines Scandinavian colonialism, and argues that colonialism is an appropriate, though underused, analytical lens for understanding interstate relations, state formation, and state-Sámi relations in Norden. The second section focuses on colonialism as it relates to the traditional Sámi homeland of Sápmi, outlining the role of Sámi in Scandinavian state formation and of colonialism in the establishment of modern Norway. It notes that Sámi were important to Norwegian national interests in two ways: by helping to consolidate Norwegian territory in Sápmi/northern Scandinavia, and for facilitating the extraction of northern resources. The third section describes how state policy toward Sámi in the 19th and 20th centuries shaped Sámi people and broader Norwegian society. It then discusses how colonial repression of Sámi cultural identity was challenged from the 1970s onwards, resulting in the establishment of Sámi political institutions and major policy changes for the Norwegian state to better respect Sámi indigenous rights.

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Edited by Kamrul Hossain, José Miguel Roncero Martín and Anna Petrétei

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Elena Busyreva

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Forming of the cultural identity in families with Finnish origins living in the Murmansk region, Russia is discussed. The article examines the components of ethnic culture such as language, religious traditions, material culture as well as the loss of a Finnish identity in subsequent generations of migrant families under the influence of various factors. The purpose of the study is to trace the transformation of the cultural identity in members of the ethnically Finnish families and reveal the factors previously participating in its formation. As the majority of informants come from multi-ethnic families, in this article the ethnic identity is considered as an unstable form, depending on the impact of specific historical events. The study showed that Russian Finns unites the involvement of the “repressed people”. The Russian Finns were inclined to construct of your ethnic identity, depending on state policy. So, they have identified themselves as the Finns until the repression of the thirties; then they tried to hide their affiliation to the Finnish ethnic group, using different strategies; in the post-Soviet period there is an opposite trend – the revival of interest to its Finnish roots. The many descendants of the Russian Finns consider themselves Finnish ethnicity currently.

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Tahnee Lisa Prior

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The Barents region, like the broader Arctic, experiences the impacts of climate change and grapples with socio-economic insecurity, among other things. Often, these experiences are gendered posing ongoing and potential threats to individuals’ roles in shaping change and in community adaptation. In this chapter I examine how, despite ample anecdotal evidence of its importance, a gender dimension is often sidelined in regional cooperation. Building on a theoretically feminist approach to human security, I argue that digital storytelling might serve as an effective tool to gain a more comprehensive understanding of gender in the Barents region – a bottom-up approach where Arctic security is truly Arctic, placing individuals and communities at the center.