Diplomacy in Science: Non-State Actors in Arctic Science Diplomacy

Presentation at the Arctic Frontiers

Arctic Frontiers 2022

Tromsø, Norway

8-11 May, 2022

Elena Adasheva and Luiza Brodt. “Diplomacy in Science: Non-State Actors in Arctic Science Diplomacy”.   

Abstract: The classic definition of science diplomacy, introduced by the Royal Society and AAAS, is largely based on a state-centered perspective to international relations. Another — holistic or pragmatic — approach draws from practices in the areas beyond national jurisdictions, such as Antarctica and the Arctic High Seas, and thus, theorizes science cooperation as a driver of science diplomacy. Recently, the scholarly interest in non-governmental actors of science diplomacy, especially in the Arctic, has been rapidly growing. Many publications offer a variety of concepts for framing non-state actors of science diplomacy: multistakeholder diplomacy, mega-diplomacy, integrative diplomacy, paradiplomacy and more. This project develops the concept “diplomacy in science” to center Arctic science while regarding diplomacy as serving and resulting from the scientific knowledge production. This paper examines the role of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) and individual scientists in Arctic permafrost studies as prominent actors of Arctic science diplomacy. The first case study demonstrates how the IASSA has become an important non-state actor of science diplomacy by promoting the status of social sciences and humanities in Arctic research along with retaining its independence from national governments and institutions. The second case study illustrates that cross-border cooperation in Arctic permafrost research, initiated by individual scientists, plays an important role in Arctic science diplomacy. These non-state actors create international epistemic communities, develop a shared disciplinary knowledge base, and define research agenda in Arctic sciences. In addition, both the IASSA and permafrost studies influence decision-making and various levels of policy. These case studies allow for development of a broader, non-Westphalian, definition of science diplomacy, highly relevant to the Arctic. This perspective on science and diplomacy in the Arctic contributes to theoretical and practical understanding of the science-policy interface, focusing on the understudied impact of non-state actors involved in scientific research.  

Publication: Book of Abstracts, video: 47:28 — 55:43