Permafrost Dynamics and Pastoral Land Use in Northern Mongolia
When: March 2019 | Where: Ulaanbaatar (Russia)
Contact: J. Otto Habeck
Long-term Perspectives on Arctic Social-Ecological Systems
When: TBA | Where: TBA
Contact: Andrey Petrov
Please visit the Cross-Cutting Activities page for more information on upcoming activities co-sponsored by the Social & Human Working Group.
Rapid Arctic Transitions due to Infrastructure and Climate (RATIC) Meeting
Gender in the Arctic
In the Arctic, queer identities and issues are rarely discussed in public, especially in Indigenous communities. Besides the common heteronormative discrimination in society, many Indigenous queer individuals are ostracized in their communities and as the result, relocate to more urban settings. The workshop examined these experiences and practices from both an academic and activist perspective. It presented Indigenous perspectives on queerness and interrogates assumptions of Indigenous heteronormativity. The workshop consisted of three sessions: an academic panel on queer Indigenous studies, an activist panel on queer Indigenous experiences and reflections and a concluding academic-activist roundtable discussing the future prospects and challenges of queering Indigeneity and the need for queer Indigenous studies in the Arctic.
Subscribe to the mailing list if you want to list your gender-related activities and institutions on the website of the IASSA WG Gender in the Arctic. More ideas for upcoming workshops, your willingness to conceptualise/co-host a workshop as well as contributions to a broader discussion are welcome.
Potential topics for next workshops include:
• Additional aspects of intersectionality.
• Creativity and arts.
• Mental well-being or security.
Long-Term Perspective on Social-Ecological Change - Current and Future Change, Sustainability and Resilience in the Polar Regions
The Polar Regions are undergoing rapid environmental, socio-cultural and economic transformation. Monitoring current change and anticipating future developments are becoming more critical than ever. This session aimed at exploring how polar communities and stakeholders deal with the combined challenges from climate change, political, economic and resource pressures, changes to the global order and new socio-cultural realities and what the future might hold for the Polar Regions. We recognize the opportunities presented by integrated interdisciplinary approaches developed within the biophysical, social, humanities and arts scholarship and invite researchers with interest in socio-ecological systems, the interaction of society and place, or in exploring the futures in a methodological or even speculative manner to contribute to this session.
• Social-ecological systems approach is well positioned to improve understanding Arctic change.
• An interdisciplinary focus on a long-term dynamics is both effective for unpacking ongoing and future changes and necessary for identifying long-term resilience, adaptive capacities and sustainability in SES.
• Arctic communities are coping with rapid, formidable and often irreversible environmental and social changes that fundamentally affect human-environmental relationships and social systems.
• Engagement of the Indigenous knowledge is critical for understanding socio-ecological dynamics at different time scales.
Calotte Academy 2018
The Calotte Academy is an annual travelling symposium, international scientific forum and doctoral school in the North Calotte, the northernmost region of Europe. It is designed to promote interdisciplinary discourse as well as academic and policy-oriented dialogue between senior researchers, early career scientists and advanced graduate students and other northern stakeholders, such as policymakers, civil servants and community leaders and planners. It is a “school of dialogue” and it is participatory by nature: the principle is to share knowledge and experiences between scientists and communities.
The Academy shed light on Arctic perceptions in the context of the regional and globalized Arctic theoretically and holistically from many angles and disciplinary approaches, from academic and policy-oriented ones – including indigeneity, development, exploration and exploitation, shipping and infrastructure, geopolitics and tourism. It discussed on Arctic perceptions from the perspectives of past(s), present(s) and future(s), and from global, or international, Arctic and local contexts in the European Arctic. By bringing researchers from all around the world together with local experts and other stakeholders, the Academy’s participants learned from the experience embedded in local cultures of the various stakeholders of the European Arctic.
Final reports of the Calotte Academy can be found on the Academy’s website.
• High geopolitical stability in the Arctic region relies on, and could be deepened by, functioning interplays between science and politics, between scientific knowledge and local/indigenous knowledge, as well as between material and non-material values. It is thus important to maintain and further develop such interplays.
• Adaptation to new technologies and standards offers opportunities but also challenges the social, economic, and environmental integrity of the Arctic region. It is important for local stakeholders and communities to have the means, expertise and capacity on contributing to their development in order to benefit from and strengthen their potential advantages.
Permafrost dynamics and indigenous land use in the Northern Urals
When: 24-27 September 2017 | Where: Vorkuta (Russia) | Contact: Joachim Otto Habeck
While it is often assumed that indigenous livelihoods in the Far North will inevitably suffer from permafrost degradation under conditions of a warming climate, the actual linkages between permafrost degradation and renewable resource use are still unclear. Considering the potential of mobile pastoralism to modify the natural environment to some degree, it is necessary to examine the interplay of land use, vegetation, climate, hydrological and cryological processes in more detail, taking into account the diversity of regional and local conditions. With this in mind, the IPA Action Group “Permafrost and Culture” conducted an interdisciplinary workshop in Vorkuta in September 2017, addressing the link between reindeer husbandry and landscape dynamics in the lowland tundra areas on both sides of the Northern Urals. The workshop complements previous studies on permafrost and land use (Central Yakutia, Republic of Sakha) and contributes to establishing a comparative circumpolar perspective.
Understanding Peace in the Arctic
When: June 2017 | Where: Tromsø (Norway) | Contact: Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv
The Arctic is often claimed to be a unique region, both for its natural environment, as well as the peaceful political conditions that continue to prevail, despite the tensions and challenges taking place on a global scale. Cooperation in the Arctic has shown to be robust and in some ways detached from disagreements and tensions developing elsewhere in international policy. The Understanding Peace in the Arctic conference was a timely international event that brought together international and local researchers that contribute to the understanding of Arctic geopolitics and society, bringing expertise in natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts. The purpose of the conference was to ask what is “Peace” in the Arctic, in which ways, or how, does our research across the disciplines play a role in contributing to peace in the Arctic, and how is our research relevant to developing policy?
Multidisciplinary communication and the governance of evolving global dynamics in the Arctic
When: 6 April & 12 June 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic) & Umeå (Sweden) | Contact: Justiina Dahl
Specific evolving socio-political and material global dynamics, such as the progress of unprecedented anthropomorphic global warming and the rise of climate change skepticism, put increasing pressure on multidisciplinary communication. This project explores whether the notion of 'boundary object' from science and technology studies could be used to facilitate the further development of multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder communication in the context of evolving, global Arctic governance. In its original framework, the concept was used to examine how the viewpoints and interests of actors inhabiting different social worlds, such as natural and technical scientists, philanthropists, and recreational hunters, have been able to be accounted for in the organization of cooperation for scientific work in complex institutional settings. Two conference sessions, one during Arctic Science Summit Week 2017 and the other during IX International Congress for Arctic Social Sciences, were planned to assist in exploring whether it could also be utilized to facilitate the translation and communication of different normative, epistemic and ontological assumptions of different socio-political actors and scientific disciplines in the development of new, sustainable global governance.
• The notion of “boundary objects” from Science and Technology Studies offers one way to enter the analysis of why specific initiatives that include conflicting interests, many actors and a need for collaboration thrive and others do not.
• An exercise of translating and discussing the different social worlds present and interconnected to work sites of scientists is one way of acknowledging silenced or implicated actors and biases in research design i.e. rising out from differences in temporal and spatial scales.
• In translating visions and reaching out to new audiences, visual interpretations or story lines can sometimes work as better tools in initial communication than mere numeric data.
• In cross-disciplinary research planning there should be enough time planned for interchange between the different paradigms. This ensures that there is a respect for the differences in them. It also lessens the tendency of setting different paradigms in hierarchical position against each other.
Long-term Perspectives on Arctic Social-Ecological Systems
When: 4 April 2017 | Where: Prague (Czech Republic) | Contact: Peter Jordan
A long-term, interdisciplinary perspective is needed to better understand past human responses to changing Arctic environments and present transformations and in turn strengthen the knowledge base for future sustainability strategies. The use of complimentary chronological perspectives (palaeo, contemporary and future) can provide mutually-reinforcing insights into factors that contribute to vulnerability and resilience within the closely interconnected social-ecological systems (SESs) of the Arctic. A conference session will be convened during Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2017 to assist in integrating historical, archaeological and long-term environmental and climatic records in order to improve understanding of the ‘palaeo’ aspects of Arctic SESs. In order to build on the ‘palaeo’ outcomes of the ASSW 2017 conference session, opportunities will be explored to convene subsequent conference sessions at ASSW 2018 in Davos, Switzerland to explore developments affecting contemporary Arctic SESs, and at ASSW 2019 in Arkhangelsk, Russia to explore opportunities to support future sustainability.
• Launches the SHWGs new theme of ‘Long-Term Perspectives on Arctic Social Ecological Systems’.
• Goal was to integrate archaeological, historical and ecological datasets to investigate Arctic SESs from a ‘palaeo’ perspective, and to better understand what contributes to their long-term fragility, resilience and long-term sustainability.
• Papers had wide temporal and full circumpolar geographic coverage; papers also presented by several Russian colleagues.
• Early Career Scientists played a central roles (both as speakers and as co-chair).
• Papers will be published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Quaternary International (Elsevier).