Cecilie Vindal Ødegaard
Department of Social Anthropology,
University of Bergen, Norway
Place-making, ownership, and enactments of sovereignty in times of climate change
My anthropological research in Longyearbyen focuses on questions of work, housing and ownership structures in the transition from coal mining to tourism, with a particular interest in enactments of state ownership and “Norwegian presence”. I explore mechanisms of place-making in the phase of transition to postindustrial activities, and how notions of place and property ownership play out as society is increasingly affected by climatic and environmental changes. Considering the geopolitical importance of the territory in a context of climate change, I examine the contested emphasis on “Norwegian presence” through housing and labor market mechanisms, as well as management of nature and cultural heritage sites. Further, by focusing especially on the dislocation of parts of Longyearbyen, I look at the challenges and dilemmas related to avalanches and security measures in my exploration of Longyearbyen as both an exception, and a future vision, in a context of global climate change.
Photo credit: Øystein Nielsen