Restructuring the Rural North? Tensions and prospects for sustainable development

Last changed: 07 May 2021

In the research we investigated how initiatives for intensified resource extraction are re-structuring rural spaces. We employed a cross national comparison of two cases of mining initiatives in Sweden and Canada that share several geographical, resource, economic and social characteristics, but differ markedly in terms of indigenous government.

Mining can be a boon, providing employment, infrastructure and skills training, but also threatens to dispossess rural people such as the Sámi and the Inuit of land they consider theirs. Through ethnographic research, historical studies and discussion groups with stakeholders, we studied complex processess of land use, changing identities and network boundaries as non-rural actors increasingly engage in mining intitatives.

We analyzed emerging forms of governance being introduced in these interactions with special attention to the potential difference that indigenous self-government makes in sustainable and democratic rural development. Together with community stakeholders, mining officials and government authorities, we aimed to identify practical and democratical policy interventions for sustainable development in rural Swedish and Canadian communities.

The research will make an original and innovative contribution to the creation of policy strategies that balance international and national energy needs with environmental and local community sustainability, identifying practical strategies for sustainable development.

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