“Human Dimension”: time to emancipate Arctic anthropology

At the upcoming major Arctic Science event, the Arctic Science Summit Week in Seoul, South Korea, 27th March-1st April. The theme of the summit is “The Arctic: New Frontier For Global Science” and Florian will co-lead a session on “Societal changes in the Arctic and North-South relations“, with prominent participants from all over the world. From the Arctic Centre will participate also Professor Bruce Forbes who will attend the session as an invited speaker. Forbes works at the Arctic Centre as research Professor and as leader of the Global Change Group. More informations on the conference programme can be found here: http://www.assw2011.org/symposium_disciplinary.php

Among other things, we will discuss there if it still makes sense to speak of the term “Human Dimension” in Arctic Science. Maybe the term has outlived itself, or wouldn’t it be weird to talk about the “natural dimension of Sami spirituality” as an opposite? If we are honest, aren’t we doing all our science for humans really? Or why would climate change matter, for example, if there were no humans on our planet to be affected by it? So in a way, “Human Dimension” is everywhere and nowhere, just as “natural dimension”. These terms base on an artificial division between humans and nature, which for people living with, on and as part of the land was always strange as a construct. More on this topic you can find the discussion of several key IASSA members here: http://www.iassa.org/images/stories/Northern_Notes_No_34.pdf .

Discussion on this would be very welcome!! Any ideas? We shall talk about this and maybe propose a resolution at the next general assembly of IASSA (International Arctic Social Sciences Association) in Akureyri, Iceland, in June. (www.iassa.org)

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  1. Pingback: Nature special, Arctic: discussion | Arctic anthropology

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