University of Oulu

Vesa Väätänen & Kaj Zimmerbauer (2020) Territory–network interplay in the co-constitution of the Arctic and ‘to-be’ Arctic states, Territory, Politics, Governance, 8:3, 372-389, DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2018.1559759

Territory–network interplay in the co-constitution of the Arctic and ‘to-be’ Arctic states

Saved in:
Author: Väätänen, Vesa1; Zimmerbauer, Kaj1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-07-11


This paper discusses the (re)production of state and supranational regional spaces through speech acts. Emphasis is placed especially on speech acts that ‘construct’ regions and concurrently (re)position specific states as ‘legitimized’ actors within supranational space. Relatedly, focus is directed to how such repositioning is linked to territory–network interplay in establishing and contesting power relations in supranational regional institutions. The paper discusses first how the region-building process in the Arctic — and power relations within the Arctic Council — has relied on territorial legitimation in which ‘Arctic states’ are rendered as the key ‘Arctic’ actors. The focus is then shifted to how France and Japan, states considered ‘non-Arctic’, have recently repositioned themselves in relation to the region in order to gain legitimacy. The key conclusion of the analysis is that by engaging with the observer criteria set by the Arctic Council, ‘non-Arctic’ states are redefining themselves in relation to the region, simultaneously (re)producing the Arctic region and non-Arctic states in relation to each other. This paper also argues that in attempting to dismantle some of the territorial criteria on which the established power relations within the Arctic Council rely, these states are pursuing the reinstitutionalization of a ‘global’ Arctic with renegotiated power relations.

see all

Series: Territory, politics, governance
ISSN: 2162-2671
ISSN-E: 2162-268X
ISSN-L: 2162-2671
Volume: 8
Issue: 3
DOI: 10.1080/21622671.2018.1559759
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: Vesa Väätänen is grateful to the Emil Aaltonen Foundation. Kaj Zimmerbauer is grateful to the Academy of Finland for financial support [Relate CoE: grant number 307348].
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 307348
Detailed Information: 307348 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2019 Regional Studies Association. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Territory, politics, governance on 11 Jan 2019, available online: