Barentsburg and Beyond: Coal, Science, Tourism, and the Geopolitical Imaginaries of Svalbard’s “New North”

  • Roger Norum


Despite continued heavy state subsidies, Russian and Norwegian mining operations in the Svalbard archipelago occupy increased strategic importance given recent heightened tensions between the two nations. At the same time, the industries of scientific research and adventure tourism are growing in importance to Svalbard’s economic self-sufficiency. This chapter explores recent geoeconomic changes in the archipelago within the contexts of shifting relationships between Russia and Norway, and of a global Anthropocenic consciousness. Considering the histories of the archipelago’s settlements of Barentsburg and Longyearbyen, and of the Russian (Arktikugol) and Norwegian (Store Norske) mining companies, the chapter explores linkages between the industries that fuel Svalbard’s settlements, the international geopolitical interest in the region, and the symbolic and real value of resource extraction within broader Arctic geopolitical discourse.


Geopolitical imaginaries Sustainable tourism Coal mining Russia Svalbard 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Norum
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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