Steaming Up or Staying Cool? Tourism Development and Greenlandic Futures in the Light of Climate Change

Lill Rastad Bjørst and Carina Ren

Abstract

The complex relationships between climate change, tourism, and societal development are remarkably palpable in the Arctic as documented and projected consequences of global climate change have reinvigorated—rather than decelerated—the prospects of economic development in this region. This is reflected in the increased tourism activities to remote circumpolar destinations such as the Ilulisaat Icefjord in Northern Greenland. Drawing from this example as well as the exhibition on future scenarios of Possible Greenland, this article combines insight from arctic studies, tourism studies, and science and technology studies in shedding light on the complex relationship between climate change, tourism, and development in Greenland. By showing how these three phenomenon interfere in the visions of Greenland as a “cool” and “hot” place, we seek to critically engage with some of the often entangled and paradoxical discourses, configurations, and practices of climate and the social that coexist in the Arctic today.

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