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Greenland's future: narratives of natural resource development in the 1900s until the 1960s
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis identifies and analyzes narratives of Greenland's future that emerged in the context of developing and modernizing the dependency's natural resources industries in the 1900s until the 1960s. After almost two centuries of Danish colonial rule, the turn of the 20th century witnessed a profound change in Greenland's governance. Although contested at first, the notion of cultural progress increasingly linked developing a modern industry to a productive economy under Danish auspices. Ideas of modernity that connected rationalities of the market with political power and science were unparalleled in the colonial discourse on Greenland's future. How were the development of Greenland's natural resource industries and its role in Danish governance debated? Which narratives emerged in this context? As the studies in this compilation thesis suggest, the rationalities of science, markets, and power became entangled in an unprecedented way during these decades, creating new ways to imagine Greenland's future.

The first paper analyzes the application of a private stakeholder group of Copenhagen's financial and economic elite for access to Greenland as a private, for-profit venture to extract and trade with the colony's living resources in 1905. The motif of an Arctic scramble was constructed through the authority of science, still resonating in the debate on rare earth mining today. The second paper identifies the business relationships between the group's members, connecting major Danish financial institutes and private economic interests in the late 19th and early 20th century. The third paper focuses on the commercialization of Greenlandic fisheries in the 1910s until the late 1920s and the fisheries scientist Adolf Severin Jensen (1866-1953). Jensen's work is an example of how applied sciences connected both scientific and political agendas, carried out in a colonial setting. The fourth paper focuses on the narrative analysis of (Danish-language) Greenlandic newspaper coverage of Qullissat between 1942 and 1968. Representations of the coal mine and nearby settlement on Greenland's west coast, which were closed down in 1972, are at the center of this study. While the coal mine was presented as a Danish success to establish an independent energy supply and to introduce modernization measures, it was presented as a Greenlandic failure to adapt to modern demands of economic productivity in the years leading up to its closure. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2017. , p. 70
Keywords [en]
Greenland, modernization, 20th-century history, colonial history, narrative, history of science and ideas
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142073ISBN: 978-91-7601-774-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-142073DiVA, id: diva2:1158444
Public defence
2017-12-15, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-24 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The Arctic scramble revisited: the Greenland consortium and the imagined future of fisheries in 1905
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Arctic scramble revisited: the Greenland consortium and the imagined future of fisheries in 1905
2015 (English)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 13-32Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå universitet, 2015
Keywords
Arctic, narrative, natural resources, natural resource management, Greenland, fisheries
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106680 (URN)
Available from: 2015-08-01 Created: 2015-08-01 Last updated: 2018-06-07Bibliographically approved
2. From Siam to Greenland: Danish Economic Imperialism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From Siam to Greenland: Danish Economic Imperialism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
2016 (English)In: Journal of world history, ISSN 1045-6007, E-ISSN 1527-8050, Vol. 27, no 4, p. 619-640Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyzes the Danish Greenland consortium’s plans at the turn to the twentieth century in the context of the stakeholders’ Asian ventures and worldwide business interests. In so doing, it offers an in-depth study of archival material concerning this specific episode in Danish economic imperialism, which connected Asia with Europe. It also assesses the transnational entanglements of the key actors involved in the Greenland consortium, widening the historiographical perspective on their plans for the colony, which to date have been confined to a side note in Danish historical research. Drawing on a cross-reading of economic and political history while focusing on imperial narratives bring into relief the importance of the globalization of the Danish private economy at the turn to the twentieth century. In this sense, the world-historical analytical framework revises the established historiographical narrative on Greenland’s modernization in the early twentieth century by highlighting the relevance of transnational developments to the discourse of modernization.

National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131989 (URN)10.1353/jwh.2016.0129 (DOI)000395698400002 ()
Available from: 2017-02-28 Created: 2017-02-28 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved
3. Science, Markets, and Power: Adolf Severin Jensen in the debate over Greenland's fisheries development during the early twentieth century
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Science, Markets, and Power: Adolf Severin Jensen in the debate over Greenland's fisheries development during the early twentieth century
2018 (English)In: Environment and History, ISSN 0967-3407, E-ISSN 1752-7023, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 349-375Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a fisheries consultant to the colonial administration, Adolf Severin Jensen (1866-1953) followed, and was an active commentator on, all stages of the commercialisation of Greenland's fishing industry - from its early assessment shortly after 1900 to the sector's peak in the 1930s, and the first signs of a changing trend in the 1940s. This paper puts Jensen's perceptions of Greenlandic fisheries in dialogue with the ideas of scientific rationalisation, economic efficiency and colonial power. The accounts of the fisheries scientist offer a glimpse into the complicated interplay of applied science in natural resource exploitation and state interests at the turn of the twentieth century. His research agenda was coined by the goals of fisheries science to connect knowledge production to markets. However, Jensen's findings also merged with Denmark's aim to secure its colonial authority in Greenland and to exert effective power over both resources and people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
White Horse Press, 2018
Keywords
fisheries, Greenland, colonial history, industrialization, modernization
National Category
History Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
History Of Sciences and Ideas
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142069 (URN)10.3197/096734018X15137949591990 (DOI)000438106900004 ()
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2017-11-20 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2018-08-31Bibliographically approved
4. A modern mine?: Greenlandic media coverage on the mining community of Qullissat, western Greenland, 1942–1968
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A modern mine?: Greenlandic media coverage on the mining community of Qullissat, western Greenland, 1942–1968
2018 (English)In: The Polar Journal, ISSN 2154-896X, E-ISSN 2154-8978, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 141-162Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the first half of the twentieth century, the coalmine of Qullissat on Disko Island in western Greenland was at the centre of visions of an industrial future for the then Danish dependency. The closure of the mine and resettlement of the community in 1972 was thus marked by confusion, and became a key event in the political development of modern Greenland. This qualitative study analyses the representation of Qullissat in two Greenlandic newspapers, Grønlandsposten and Atuagagdliutit/Grønlandsposten, between 1942 and 1968. It seeks to add a layer of understanding to the history of the mining community by drawing attention to the framing of Qullissat’s future in public discourse, using newspapers as a historical source. During the Second World War and well into the 1950s, media coverage of Qullissat focused on the modernisation measures initiated by the Danish mine management based on expert assessments. From the mid-1960s, however, the representations of Greenlandic workers as not matching modern industrial ideas created the impression of a community that was no longer viable in the postcolonial setting. In many respects, this media discourse reflects a perceived dichotomy between Denmark as a modern society, and Greenland as non-modern and dependent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018
Keywords
Greenland, Qullissat, media narrative, history of mining, modernisation, post-colonialism
National Category
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-142071 (URN)10.1080/2154896X.2018.1468620 (DOI)2-s2.0-85051088042 (Scopus ID)
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form with title "A Modern Mine? Greenlandic media coverage of the Qullissat coal mine in Greenland, 1942-1968".

Available from: 2017-11-20 Created: 2017-11-20 Last updated: 2018-08-31Bibliographically approved

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