© 2018

Competing Arctic Futures

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

  • Nina Wormbs


  • Explores how narratives about the future of the Arctic have been produced historically up until the present day

  • Questions why some voices have been heard while others are marginalised, challenging the dominant narrative in media and policy discourse

  • Evaluates the actions of individuals and institutions, their political, economic, technological and ethical contexts, and the means through which they communicate their visions and politics


About this book


This edited collection explores how narratives about the future of the Arctic have been produced historically up until the present day. The contemporary deterministic and monolithic narrative is shown to be only one of several possible ways forward. This book problematizes the dominant prediction that there will be increased shipping and resource extraction as the ice melts and shows how this seemingly inevitable future has consequences for the action that can be taken in the present. This collection looks to historical projections about the future of the Arctic, evaluating why some voices have been heard and championed, while others remain marginalised. It questions how these historical perspectives have shaped resource allocation and governance structures to understand the forces behind change in the Arctic region. Considering the history of individuals and institutions, their political and economic networks and their perceived power, the essays in this collection offer new perspectives on how the future of the Arctic has been produced and communicated.


Predictions Arctic circle Polar history Politics Economics Shipping Resource extraction Agents of change Indigenous people Scientific exploration

Editors and affiliations

  • Nina Wormbs
    • 1
  1. 1.History of Science, Technology and EnvironmentKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

About the editors

Nina Wormbs is Associate Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. She has worked on media history and recently on environmental history and climate change. She co-edited, with Christensen and Nilsson, Media and the Politics of Arctic Climate Change and contributed to the edited collection The New Arctic.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Competing Arctic Futures
  • Book Subtitle Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
  • Editors Nina Wormbs
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Science and Technology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-91616-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-06267-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-91617-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 281
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Science
    Environmental Policy
    Modern History
    Polar Geography
    Historical Geography
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This volume stresses that it is the responsibility of academics – especially social scientists and those working in the Arctic – to tell stories that reveal how if people can change the climate, the voices they raise, the resources they render (and don’t render) and the governance they enact can also lead to more just and equitable outcomes.” (Mia M Bennett, The Polar Journal, October 17, 2019)