For over a century, the Arctic has been invoked within a wide range of political and popular imaginings, both reifying the colonial narratives of the earlier centuries and opening up new ones. The mediation of these imaginings in the news as well as in other cultural forms from literature to music to visual and performative arts reflects changes in the social landscapes over time. Portrayals shaped or informed by Arctic geopolitics in artistic realms and news stories and films include a diverse variety of focal points from the potential deployment of nuclear weapons and confrontation to imaginaries of cooperation and peace in the aftermath of Gorbachev’s heavily covered Murmansk speech of 1987 to the formation of the Arctic Council to the more recent discourses influenced by the shrinking of the Arctic sea-ice extent. The shifts in the modes of media consumption and the multiplication of the information and communication platforms create new contexts, adding to the complexity of the interlinkages between media, power and geopolitics of the Arctic. Following the record Arctic sea-ice minima of 2007 and 2012, for instance, the sea-ice itself has become a globally mediated resource for actors claiming a stake in the future of the northern polar region [1]. As a region where few people reside and tourism remains relatively limited, popular com­munication channels such as films, documentaries, social media and, most notably, the news media play a significant role in political and economic discourses and public understanding of the Arctic. In this talk, I present current findings from my research spreading over the past decade and focus on both the discursive-narrative dimensions of media and popular communication and the material dimensions of communication. On a theoretical level, I weave together communicative and geopolitical considerations and concepts.


[1]Nilsson, A.E. and Christensen, M. Arctic Geopolitics, Media and Power, Routledge(2019)

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