This chapter addresses the concept of biopolitics and its implications for how power is theorized in the Arctic. There is a long history of state intervention in the life of Arctic populations, especially in the lives of indigenous peoples, on account of the ways in which their lives are seen to require care and development. Critics deploy the concept of biopolitics to argue that these interventions are not designed simply to care for indigenous peoples in compassionate ways, but that Arctic states use care as a strategy of legitimation for interventions which function to extend state control over ‘risky’ populations. These are instances of biopower—the exercise of political power within a population in which care for the life of that population simultaneously extends state control over that population for security reasons. This chapter builds on the research of scholars of biopolitics in the Arctic to examine how this problematic currently plays out in policy-based responses to the suicide crisis in Arctic indigenous communities. The argument is that the problem of suicide in the Arctic is constructed in ways which function to develop biopolitical strategies of rule over indigenous peoples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Studies of the Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationUnravelling the North
EditorsMarjo Lindroth, Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen, Monica Tennberg
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-11120-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-11119-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


  • arctic
  • biopolitics
  • suicide

Field of science

  • International political science


Dive into the research topics of 'Biopolitics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Citation for this output