A photo of yellow cake uranium, a solid form of uranium oxide produced from uranium ore. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
In a rapidly changing Arctic, there is a need to engage in a comprehensive investigation into what Arctic security means in the 21st century. Together with the Danish journal POLITIK, The Arctic Institute has, thus, published a Special Issue, which aims to widen the debate on Arctic security relations through a more comprehensive dialogue inclusive of the many different types of security, their interactions, and their challenges. Each chapter provides one layer of a multi-modal lens of Arctic security that, together, weave a complex web of change.
Rasmus Kjærgaard Rasmussen is Associate Professor at Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University.
Henrik Merkelsen is Associate Professor at Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University.
Post-colonial governance through securitization? A narratological analysis of a securitization controversy in contemporary Danish and Greenlandic uranium policy
The complex constitutional relationship between Greenland and Denmark has had no clearer manifestation than the last decade’s juridical and political wrangling over the control for uranium. In the article, we argue that the quarrel between Nuuk and Copenhagen manifested in their diverging uranium policies can be interpreted as what we call a ’securitization controversy’. That is, a form of negotiating process that delicately postpones securitization proper due to the entangled role of the uranium issue in the independence debate. Through narrative analysis of contemporary Danish and Greenlandic government policy documents (2008-2016) we demonstrate how Greenlandic policies attempt to desecuritize risks pertinent to extraction of uranium and rare earth elements (REE) while the Danish government papers seek to riskify uranium in order to keep the issue open to future securitization. We further show how in the policy papers certain risks are connected and thus constitute a narrative conflict involving identity and sovereignty. We argue that the controversy found at the policy level is the result of the underlying ‘sovereignty game’ in the constitutional relationship between the two parts of the Danish Realm. The article introduces a methodological framework for studying such securitization controversies drawing on risk analysis and narratology. We argue that in order to account for the entangled and narrative nature of the discursive movements in the policy texts, structural narratology can be a viable methodological alternative to the Copenhagen School’s preferred method of discourse analysis.
- Introduction: Arctic International Relations in a Widened Security Perspective
- Chapter 1: Desecuritization as Displacement of Controversy: Geopolitics, Law and Sovereign Rights in the Arctic
- Chapter 2: Soft Securitization: Unconventional Security Issues and the Arctic Council
- Chapter 3: Regional Order in the Arctic: Negotiated Exceptionalism
- Chapter 4: Arctic Indigenous Societal Security at COP21: The Divergence of Security Discourse and Instruments in Climate Negotiations
- Chapter 6: What Kind of Nation State will Greenland be? Securitization Theory as a Strategy for Analyzing Identity Politics
- Afterword: The Arctic Security Constellation