The Northward Course of the Anthropocene: Transformation, Temporality and Telecoupling in a Time of Environmental Crisis
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The Arctic—warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet—is a source of striking imagery of amplified environmental change in our time, and has come to serve as a spatial setting for climate crisis discourse. The recent alterations in the Arctic environment have also been perceived by some observers as an opportunity to expand economic exploitation. Heightened geopolitical interest in the region and its resources, contradicted by calls for the protection of fragile Far North ecosystems, has rendered the Arctic an arena for negotiating human interactions with nature, and for reflecting upon the planetary risks and possibilities associated with the advent and expansion of the Anthropocene—the proposed new epoch in Earth history in which humankind is said to have gained geological agency and become the dominant force over the Earth system. With the Arctic serving as a nexus of crosscutting analytical themes spanning contemporary history (the late twentieth and the early twenty-first century until 2015), this dissertation examines defining characteristics of the Anthropocene and how the concept, which emerged from the Earth system science community, impacts ideas and assumptions in historiography, social sciences and the environmental humanities, including the fields of environmental history, crisis management and security studies, political geography, and science and technology studies (STS). The primary areas of empirical analysis and theoretical investigation encompass constructivist perspectives and temporal conceptions of environmental and climate crisis; the role of science and expertise in performing politics and shaping social discourse; the geopolitical significance of telecoupling—a concept that reflects the interconnectedness of the Anthropocene and supports stakeholder claims across wide spatial scales; and implications of the recent transformation in humankind’s long duration relationship with the natural world. Several dissertation themes were observed in practice at the international science community of Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard, where global change is made visible through a concentration of scientific activity. Ny-Ålesund is furthermore a place of geopolitics, where extra-regional states attempt to enhance their legitimacy as Arctic stakeholders through the performance of scientific research undertakings, participation in governance institutions, and by establishing a physical presence in the Far North. This dissertation concludes that this small and remote community represents an Anthropocene node of global environmental change, Earth system science, emergent global governance, geopolitics, and stakeholder construction in an increasingly telecoupled world.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 62 p.
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2071
, CRISMART, 45
Anthropocene, Arctic, Fernand Braudel, environmental and climate crisis, environmental history, expertise, polar geopolitics, securitization, Svalbard, telecoupling
History and Archaeology
Research subject History of Science, Technology and Environment
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-179139ISBN: 978-91-7595-809-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-179139DiVA: diva2:881415
2016-01-22, V1, Teknikringen 76, KTH, Stockholm, 14:40 (English)
McNeill, John, Professor
Sörlin, Sverker, ProfessorWormbs, Nina, DocentParker, Charles, Docent
QC 201512112015-12-112015-12-102015-12-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers