The Arctic has often been seen as a natural area, or even a “wilderness”, where mainly indigenous and subsistence activities have been prominent. Contrary to this, the present volume highlights the very long historical development of resource use systems in northern Europe, across multiple actors and multiple levels, and including varying population groups.

The book takes a past-present-future perspective that illustrates the paths to institutional emergence, change or persistence over time. It also illustrates how institutions may themselves drive changes, through a focus on resource use cases in northern Europe. This volume demonstrates that understanding “northern” issues is less about understanding sets of geophysical, climatological or environmental conditions than about understanding social and institutional structures. Understanding these trajectories into the future is seen as a key way of understanding what responses to future change may be likely and what the institutions are that will shape, limit or enable our responses to climate change.

This book will be of great use to scholars and graduates in the fields of Arctic and northern-region politics, and to researchers of resource use and climate change with a focus on vulnerability, social vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation.

chapter 1|17 pages


Understanding historical contingencies into the future: cases from northern Europe

chapter 2|20 pages

Hot-spots and spaces in-between

Development and settlement in the “Old North”

chapter 3|24 pages

State and resources in the north

From territorial assertion to the “smorgasbord state”

chapter 6|20 pages

Making “wilderness” in a northern natural resource periphery

On restructuring and the production of a pleasure periphery in northern Sweden

chapter 9|20 pages

Oil and gas extraction in the Barents Sea

A Nordic state-industry governance system goes north

chapter 10|19 pages

Troubling the northern seas

The turbulent history of Norwegian and Russian fisheries

chapter 13|21 pages


The “Old North” – or quite simply the developed northern Europe