What kind of nation state will Greenland be? Securitization theory as a strategy for analyzing identity politics

Ulrik Pram Gad

Resumé


Arctic geopolitics is a moving target - and Greenland, determined to emerge as a sovereign nation state, is a particularly dynamic quantity. The choices currently made in language policy about how to prioritize the Greenlandic, Danish, and English languages will be putting Greenland on very different routes towards and beyond independence. The article modifies the analytical strategy prescribed by Copenhagen School Securitization Theory to produce a nuanced picture of national identity politics, the tensions involved, and scenarios for the future. Analysis of the 2002 and 2016 debates on language supplements the received image of what constitutes Greenlandic identity, centered on language and iconic material cultural practices, with conspicuously modern elements like democracy and welfare. Advancing formally from 'home rule' to 'self-government' has shifted the debate towards material challenges - prompting a more prominent role for the English language, in turn pointing Greenland towards new alliances in Arctic geopolitics.


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