Inscribing the Circumpolar North: Scientific and Local Ways of Knowing

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Logical positivism and contextualized local ways of understanding the world are often contrasted. Indeed much of colonial history around the world is punctuated by various inscriptions of this schism, where the former is often placed in a hierarchical relation to the latter. Under various subtle and not so subtle guises, it is apparent that the contrast often continues to inform centralised state governance (often from the South) of the Circumpolar North, and local reaction to these programs are often informed by similar arguments. However, scholars throughout the North have been working on ways to shed light on the complexities or even the lack of validity regarding this discourse of complete difference. In this panel, the presenters will look at ways that these divides can be transcended. More than ever scholars are engaging with ideas of entanglements or convergences between these ways of knowing. Now even in the most positivistic driven arenas of management, policy makers are for various reasons obliged to work with ways of knowing that their predecessors would have described as myth or superstition. By reflecting on the North in relation to other areas of the world with similar histories, we ask the question: Can these entanglements or convergences be considered a new form of inscription or do they merely continue a process of colonisation both in the physical and consciousness sense?

The papers presented will reflect the work of several BOREAS CRPs concerned with the generation of new ways of thinking about and ways of representing northern communities. It is a core topic of conversation bringing together many discussions that have been occurring between Boreans on modes of inscription in the North, including but not limited to the history of exploration, the history of movement and migration, statistical modes of representation, paleoenvironmental signatures of human activity, mythical and symbolic ways of knowing, sentient ecologies, narratives and other pedagogical forms, state governance, and the history of science.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
EventBOREAS final conference - Rovaneimi, Finland
Duration: 30 Oct 20091 Nov 2009


ConferenceBOREAS final conference


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