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The politics of international collaboration in Polar research
University of Sussex.
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the tension between science and politics in contemporary polar research. Twin objectives underpin this central theme. The first is to investigate the relationship between science and politics when analysed through an understanding of international collaboration in Arctic and Antarctic research. The second is to gain an understanding of the nature of research collaboration as an important mode of working in modern science.

A framework for analysing collaboration as a work process is proposed. The empirical research interprets how and why polar researchers collaborate. This is done by investigating a number of collaborative projects with reference to their policy and political context. Three countries with contrastive polar political interests were chosen within which to conduct the empirical work: the UK, Norway and Germany.

Science logistics (the means of supporting research in the field, e.g. transport, research platforms) are identified as the most significant enabling factor in experimental polar research. They also perform a symbolic political role for governments. In the three countries forming the focus of this study, science logistics are controlled bygovernment polar research institutes which also house multidisciplinary research programmes.

Logistics are traced to the heart of collaboration; they bring researchers together, and shape the nature of collaborative research. Differences in ease of access to national logistics structure collaboration. The interface between these politics of access andnational political agendas is blurred, owing to the central role played by logistics in both science and politics. However, the apparent conflict between scientists' careers and polar politics masks the finding that scientists shape their careers in creative ways, despite, or perhaps because of the constraints imposed by structural conditions. Viewing science as work reveals the importance of taking account of what scientists do when analysing the relation between science and politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Sussex , 1996. , 363 p.
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42850OAI: diva2:410551
Available from: 2011-04-21 Created: 2011-04-14 Last updated: 2011-04-21Bibliographically approved

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Schild, Ingrid

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