Greenland and the elusive better future: the affective merging of resources and independence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The politically stated aim in Greenland is to eventually become independent from the (former) colonizer Denmark. In the debate on the ways in which to reach this aim, the country’s potentially vast and varied natural resources have come to play a key role. As it continues to be economically dependent on Denmark, Greenland’s resources are envisioned to produce the necessary economic self-sufficiency, and independence has therefore largely become an economic endeavor. This chapter deconstructs the inseparable entanglement of plans for resource extraction and the political pursuit of independence. The envisioned wealth from resource extraction and the equality and redemption from the colonial past, associated as they are with being an independent nation, are about forging a better future. The entwinement of resource developments and independence is also a source of fears and concerns about the potential environmental, cultural and social impacts. By engaging in a discussion of the affective elements engendered by the visions of a better future, this chapter argues that – regardless of their material presence – resources and independence are elusive as their actualization keeps escaping. The chapter claims that a complex debate is created through the powerful hope-laden visions entailed in the entanglement of resource extraction and independence. Affective elements that are incompatible with the economic imperative of nation building are often ignored or downplayed. The economic and political hopes that the development of resources extraction is envisioned to bear for the future of the nation often trump the fears and concerns associated with it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResources, Social and Cultural Sustainabilities in the Arctic
EditorsMonica Tennberg, Hanna Lempinen, Susanna Pirnes
Place of PublicationAbingdon
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-05736-6
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-17544-3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

Series Routledge Research in Polar Regions

Field of science

  • International political science


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