Northern Studies

The Northern Studies Research Group (NSRG) at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway (AUN) is multidisciplinary in its research as well as in terms of the competencies of its members. It aims to produce new insights on the societal, economic and environmental challenges in northern Scandinavia seen in a circumpolar and global geo-economic and cultural context.

Group coordinator
Urban Wråkberg, Dep. of Tourism and Northern Studies (IRNS), Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (AUN) in Kirkenes

The borderlands and cross-roads of northern Europe including Northwest Russia are central interest areas of the Northern Studies Research Group (NSRG). We contextualize this research with regards to the County of Finnmark along a central European axis by comparative study in the Eastern Baltic Sea Region, Slovakia and Transcarpatia.

Interdisciplinary course programme: the Bachelor of Northern Study
By the group’s residence in Kirkenes and at Campus Alta we are assuming a regional responsibility also through public outreach and by internationally open teaching in the on-line program Bachelor of Northern Studies (BNS). The scope of knowledge conveyed in the BNS is northern studies with its full complexity of geopolitical, economic, indigenous, environmental and cultural issues of the circumpolar north.

The research group in northern studies

  • The members of the group hold research competence in social sciences, technology, statistics, indigenous study and social anthropology. Our focus areas are the European north, Scandinavia and northern Russia
  • The members are the core of the teaching staff of the IRNS Bachelor of Northern Studies program (BNS)
  • The research group aims to create new knowledge on the County of Finnmark, in its global context, of relevance for local societal sustainability, environmental security, indigenous issues, northern tourism and industry
  • We specialize in cross-border issues, entrepreneurship and Russian studies

Research methods
Comparative perspectives are crucial for realizing differences and similarities between geographical areas. We follow and contribute to the development of research methodologies internationally and esp. within the Central European academic community. The northern researcher’s proficiency in languages is important but so is the ability to analyze subject matters of widely different academic fields. For example, multifactorial synthesis is the only way to be successful in business forecasting.

We use some special sources for the study of tourism (esp. on trip-styles and choice-of-location triggers); inspired by D. Silverman’s suggestion that: “we are living in the ‘interview society’ – a society occupied by social scientists, media presenters and journalists who are convinced that the only path to individual ‘authenticity’ is through the face-to-face interview”.

So-called unprovoked sources are central in some of our tourism analyzing projects dealing with social media. We do discourse analysis, detect path-dependencies, do site visits, and use photography and participant observation as research methods. Our sources include the cyber sphere, public documents and interviews.


NSRG is partner in the Danish research network EuReS and associated member of the Dutch GREASE network. It will be represented at the joint EuReS & GREASE workshop “Resources, Infrastructures and the Anthropocene: Dialogues between the Global-North and the Global-South”, which is organized at Caparica Campus, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal, on September 18-20, 2019

As one of the research partners in the concluding 2014-2018 Swedish-Finnish-Russian-Norwegian research project Mistra Arctic Sustainability, NSRG will be represented at a book launch, and meetings with stakeholders as part of a high-level EU Arctic Forum on October 3-4, 2019 at Umeå University, Sweden. This is a joint event of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, and the Government of Sweden boosting among other interdisciplinary research and outreach on Euroarctic matters of sustainability, security and prosperity

During field interviews and student’s workshops of the Kolarctic CBC program BRIDGE, to be held in Vardø, northeasternmost Norway on October 6-11, 2019, NSRG members will conduct initial studies for sub-projects emerging as a research synergy between NSRG and BRIDGE. BRIDGE is led by NSRG fellow Peter Fischer