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The Politics of Development in Nunavut: Land Claims, Arctic Urbanization, and Geopolitics Open Access


Other title
Nunavut Territory
Arctic Urbanization
Critical Geopolitics
Circumpolar Arctic
Canadian North
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Weber, Barret
Supervisor and department
Shields, Rob (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Szeman, Imre (English and Film Studies)
Caine, Ken (Sociology)
Peolzer, Greg (Political Studies)
Nuttall, Mark (Anthropology)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis surveys the development of Nunavut as not only a governmental and institutional entity but as a territory that is a political and social space both in the tradition of the Territories of the Canadian State and of Westphalian territorial government generally. It relies on Inuit everyday life, knowledge and values in the Eastern and Central Canadian Arctic. Drawing on first hand ethnographic fieldwork conducted primarily in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, from 2008–2011; interviews with key informants; archival research, and participant observation in local, national and international governmental forums; Iqaluit, capital of Nunavut, is presented as a major case study. Iqaluit carries important lessons for evaluating processes of Arctic urbanization, the centralization and formation of communities and it has been challenged as a meaningful site for Inuit dwelling, rather than purely a governmental place. The poor image of Iqaluit is also related to the differential experience of migrants from other parts of the Arctic and local families who are successful as established insiders. In addition, minor case studies of the human dimensions of climate change and the debate on the European Union seal ban are presented. Attitudes towards social science research illustrate disagreements and conflict between “northern” publics and Canadian and international “southern” values.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Weber, Barret, and Rob Shields. "The Virtual North: On the Boundaries of Sovereignty." Ethnic and Racial Studies 34, no. 1 (2011): 103-20.

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