This project examines Greenland's independence movement through its nation-building efforts, particularly its Branding Greenland initiative, a process that strives to reconfigure an ethnic identity into a national identity. The Greenlandic Nation is a new phenomenon in world affairs as it is composed and led by an indigenous Inuit population, poised to become the first independent Inuit nation-state. As such it is one of the few contemporary examples of nation-building in the Arctic. This transition is reconfiguring the face of governance in the region, with Greenland?s role in its own governance increasing as Denmark's wanes. Nation-branding in Greenland draws attention to the increasing role of culture and identity as tools for economic development and political recognition by indigenous and minority groups. Building on and contributing to scholarship on indigenous movements in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the proposed project explores the transition from a primarily ethnic, Inuit identity to a national identity and the contention between various understandings of Greenland as a place and Greenlanders as a people embedded in this process. It examines how culture and identity have been configured and reconfigured through policy with the goal of attaining political and economic autonomy, and how they have increasingly been objectified and essentialized as tools for development by various interests in politics, business, and NGOs. This project also contributes to a more situated understanding of government and governance, moving it from a straight-forward top-down process focused solely on political actors to one characterized by multiple and intersecting social, cultural, political and economic interests and contested meanings. This project employs the notion of "bordering" to examine contemporary nation-building as an internally and externally focused process, highlighting the changing role of the nation-state in an increasingly global Arctic, facing climate change accompanied by growing international attention and increasing resource development.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Polar Programs (PLR)
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Anna Kerttula de Echave
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Suny at Binghamton
United States
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