The web of responsibility in and for the Arctic

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What does it mean to be responsible in and for the Arctic? This article addresses this question, noting that responsibility has become a core policy norm in different governance areas in recent decades. The article contributes to the current debate on responsibility in global politics, arguing that one should consider not only who is responsible (and what for) but also the capability foundations upon which responsibility is exercised, as well as the underlying normativity of this practice. Instead of only focusing on capabilities as first principles from which responsibilities arise, this article suggests approaching responsibility as a web of relations. On the basis of this theoretical discussion the article turns to two cases of contemporary Arctic policy where we can observe responsibility ‘at work’. The fields of search and rescue and sustainable development are both marked by a cooperative approach among (state and non-state) parties, whose interactions centre on a particular ethical understanding of responsibility rather than on power-oriented politics. Yet each policy field contains specific dilemmas, as Arctic governance is characterised by a web of responsibility that comprises multiple subjects in charge and/or objects for which they are responsible.




Hansen-Magnusson, H. (2019). The web of responsibility in and for the Arctic. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 32(2), 132–158.

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