Den grønlandske identitetsdiskurs’ betydning for Grønlands Selvstyres udenrigspolitiske handlerum: Fortællingernes potentialer og paradokser i perioden 2009 – 2014

Marc Jacobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Through a poststructuralist perspective primarily inspired by Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe and Ole Wæver, this thesis explores how the hegemonic and contingent identity discourse in Greenland has been used to constitute the Self Rule government’s foreign policy during the period 2009 – 2014. Firstly, the analysis of the hegemonic identity discourse renders visible how the narrative of a unique Greenlandic identity is contingent and in position to be dislocated. Especially the common aim for increased independence, which seems to unite all the political parties, appears to only do so when independence is articulated with no further details. At the same time, the identity discourse does also highlight a cultural core, consisting of the Greenlandic language, hunting traditions and, through this, the relationship to the nature. In a widened perspective, this core is, however, challenged by e.g. the notion of ‘non-Greenlandic speaking Greenlander’, which indicates that language cannot be used as a demarcation line. Furthermore, the climate changes represent a paradox, which, on the one hand, could benefit the state building process while, on the other hand, threatening the traditional way of living. Secondly, the analysis of Greenland’s foreign political communication shows how the cultural elements of the discourse are securitized and highlighted as a matter of societal security, which is used to legitimize extraordinary rights. These are achieved by referring to both indigenous rights and the anticipated future with enhanced independence. Sometimes even in the same case, which seem paradoxical as the different arguments articulate different subject positions to the Greenlandic people as either a minority or an equal partner. This oscillation may be perceived as a cause of the relatively recent transition from Home Rule to Self Rule, but could also be seen as a strategy to gain the best possible bargaining position with the economy and state building process as the underlying logic. Keywords: Greenland, identity, foreign policy, poststructuralism, discourse, hegemony, contingency, societal security, securitization, Laclau, Mouffe, Wæver

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages77