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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

The Svalbard-political field: power and interests in Norwegian Svalbard politics. Field study 2022.

Awarded: NOK 25,999

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Project Period:

2022 - 2022

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The research question of this thesis is: Which interests prevail in Norwegian Svalbard politics, and in what ways do they prevail? The thesis aims to 1) describe how Svalbard politics is made and map its key actors, thus contributing to increased knowledge production and better understanding of Svalbard politics, and 2) detect power relations and -mechanisms, and thereby highlight potential differences among interests and consequences of this. The theoretical foundation is based upon Bourdieus power theory. The research question will be answered qualitatively. First, I will conduct a literature review to map key actors, as well as a document analysis of their programs and organization charts to identify their goals and positions. This will constitute the fundament for a hypothesis that will further guide the thesis. The hypothesis will be examined through case studies following the process tracing model, with document analysis and interviews as the primary methods for obtaining and analysing data. The cases concerns political decision processes lead by the Norwegian government and relate to questions of which activities should be conducted on Svalbard: 1) The closure of mining activity on Svalbard, 2) The new leading role of the Norwegian Polar Institute in the research on Svalbard, 3) The certification practice for guides on Svalbard / The Arctic 2030-support of green tourism on Svalbard. The field work on Svalbard is necessary to obtain relevant interview data from local actors, such as Visit Svalbard, LO Svalbard and the Norwegian Polar Institute’s office in Longyearbyen. The field work is planned to be conducted in the period of 15.08.2022-16.09.2022.

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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum