Performing Arctic Sovereignty: Policy & Visual Representations
The Arctic is 5.5 million square miles and has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, yet it is still a frontier of development. But who owns the Arctic?
This book charts the history of performances of sovereignty over the Arctic in the policy and visual representations of the US, Canada and Russia. Focusing on narratives of the effective occupation of territory found in postage stamps, it offers a novel analysis of Arctic sovereignty. Issues such as climate change, plastics pollution and resource development continue to impact the future of this space centred around the North Pole. Who is responsible for the region? This book examines how countries have absorbed Arctic territory into their national consciousness, examining the choice of, and use of, symbols and images in postage stamps. It looks at the story of how these countries have represented their Arctic frontiers and territorial peripheries.
The book argues that the performance of policy in these regions has caused relative sovereignty to become a reality. It provides an intriguing account of how these countries have, in their distinctive ways, established, legitimised and reinforced their political authority in these regions.
Messages on Arctic Policy:
Effective Occupation in the Postage Stamps
of the United States, Canada & Russia
The Arctic policies of the United States, Canada, and Russia have received considerable attention on the international stage in recent years, although engagement by these states with the region extends through many eras. Overlooked in analyses of Arctic policy and practice in the region are the messages communicated through postage stamps, noted in their importance as transmitters of government messages, as these states emphasize claims to sovereignty and the resources of the region.
These Arctic states issued a number of stamps depicting the Arctic throughout their engagement with the region, long before any formal policy documents addressed contemporary geostrategic concerns. This article surveys all Arctic postage stamps issued by these three states and analyzes their messages for correlation with official Arctic policy in several periods, concluding that there is substantial relationship between the issued stamps and the practice and policy of these Arctic states as they demonstrate their effective occupation of the region.