Northern Studies

The Northern Studies Research Group (NSRG) at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway (AUN) is interdisciplinary in most of its research and in terms of the competencies of its members. It aims to produce new insights on the societal, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities in different regions of the Circumarctic.

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

Subarctic Europe and the Circumarctic, including Russia, forms the extensive geographical scope of interest of the Northern Studies Research Group (NSRG). We often apply comparative perspectives in our interdisciplinary research, as well as in our research-based teaching in the Northern Studies program. Core region and home to the NSRG research group is the County of Finnmark, Northern Norway and its borderlands with Finnland, Sweden and Russia.

Interdisciplinary course programme: the Bachelor of Northern Study
We assume regional responsibility 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 including of geopolitical, economic, indigenous, environmental and cultural issues of the circumpolar north seen in a circumpolar and global geo-economic and cultural context.

The research group in northern studies

  • The members of the group hold research competence in social sciences, technology, environmental history, geopolitics, indigenous study and social anthropology. 
  • The core members are the course developers and teaching staff of the IRNS Bachelor of Northern Studies program (BNS)
  • The research group aims to create new knowledge on the County of Finnmark, Norway not least by relating it to a global context. It has proved relevant to local societal sustainability, environmental security, indigenous issues, northern tourism and industry. The University-Society-Bussiness nexus often figures in our student-based local R & D. 
  • Resilience in High North cross-border interaction is focussed in courses and projects we run.  We specialize in peace study, on raw material and energy security, entrepreneurship and Russian studies

Research methods
Comparative perspectives are instrumental in revealing differences and similarities between geographical areas. 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.

The meaning of cultural and industrial heritage has figured in NSRG projects, collective memory has been shown to function as a practical cognitive resource for local decision-making.

We have used unconventional methods in studying tourism by analysing trip-styles and choice-of-location triggers by participant observation and holistic interview techniques. 

We do discourse analysis, detect path-dependencies, do site visits, and use photography at site visits and communication results.

News & Events

● The Northern Studies Research Group is partner in the eminent Finnish-based “Calotte Academy”. Its theme for 2023 is “Non-state Arctic actors and circumpolar regionalization.” The Calotte Academy is an international open travelling workshop, this year it will be held on June 11-18. Details on the route and program is forthcoming. Its first call is downloadable here. The Calotte Academy is the longest standing, locally interactive cross-border research and development enterprise in the Euroarctic.

● The externally funded activities in 2016-2021 of the BANHER (northern studies network in higher education and research) program consisted in a series of cross-border workshop with joint teaching and R & D group-work involving NSRG scholars, BNS students, and students from many universities of the Barents Euroarctic Region. In 2023 BANHER is followed-up by an innovation focussed set of BNS field excursions. The first event coincides with the 2023 Kirkenes Conference and takes place in that town at the turn of February-March. Additional workshops occur in Alta on March 22 and April 12. This project features current business prospects in the Norwegian-Finnish-Russian border region. More info is in the NOSNHER subsection of this site.

● NSRG member Peter Haugseth has had his plan for a PhD project approved by the selection committee of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education of UIT The Arctic University of Norway (AUN) and recently passed his mid-tenure PhD thesis quality evaulation chaired by Prof. Alexander Sergunin. The working title of his dissertation is “High North Scenarios and Regional Realities: De-bordering Norwegian-Russian sub-Arctic Relations”, project period: 2019-2023. Main supervisor is Prof. Rasmus G. Bertelsen, Dep. Political Science, with co-supervisor Prof. Urban Wråkberg, Dep. Tourism & Northern Studies, both at AUN.