CECILIE VINDAL ØDEGAARD
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.
I have previously conducted several periods of long-term fieldwork in the Andes, Peru, which has been the basis of my anthropological research since 1997. Between 2019 and 2023, I will conduct several periods of short-term fieldwork in Longyearbyen.
Institution: Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, Norway
photo credit: Øystein Nielsen