Polar mobilities: resilience and transformations (ANTHROMOB)

Roger Norum (University of Oulu)
David Picard (University of Lausanne)
Simone Abram
Start time:
2 August, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Scholarly debates on mobility focus on the interconnectedness of contemporary life. Are there particular innovations and continuities in mobilities in the Arctic and Antarctic regions? How can we reconcile local practices and narratives with globally imagined political and commercial polar projects?

Long abstract:

The earth's polar regions attract particular kinds of mobility, from everyday livelihoods to metropolitan exploration, commercial adventures or particular kinds of tourist venture. We ask how these mobilities are driven by and are affected by growing global imaginaries of the polar regions in the context of: - a proliferation of transport, hunting, information and communication technologies; - hypermediatisation of the polar regions as metaphors for (or indicators of) environmental change in general; - the emergence of new forms of (legal) advocacy defining the Poles as quasi-sacred 'wilderness'; - melting ice easing access for extractive industries, ensuing land and resource tenure conflicts and a steady growth of eco-tourism. The panel addresses questions such as: Do the polar regions afford particular instances of indigenous tourism? What is the significance of highlighting environmental questions through exploratory travel or politically motivated journeys? What is the legacy of richly imagined (and often heavily mythologised) Arctic and Antarctic natures? What kinds of mobilities do different actors adopt? And how are everyday mobilities of polar inhabitants affected by circulating global imaginaries? The papers in this panel also consider how different mobilities are entangled, for example the ways in which science and tourist mobilities are facilitators of (and facilitated by) mobilities in military and geopolitical spheres. We particularly welcome papers that explore collaborative engagements between a wide range of actors (e.g. whalers, hunters, indigenous activists, scientists, polar bears, penguins, fjords and icebergs) and that engage with an anthropology of/in the Anthropocene.