The Role of the State in Population Movements: The Circumpolar North and Other Periphery Regions

OrganisersFlorian Stammler  (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland), Peter Schweitzer (University of Alaska Fairbanks), Timothy Heleniak (University of Maryland), Elena Khlinovskaya-Rockhill (University of Alberta)

Registration for this event , abstract submission, accommodation and evening events booking here.

The State has played an increasingly large role in population movements in the 20th century. This role ranges from deliberate policies aimed at affecting the spatial distribution of the population to the unintended consequences of policies aimed at other goals. While individuals and households have considerable latitude in their locations decisions, this ranges along a continuum from complete freedom of choice to various forms of forced migration or relocation. These factors have been seen across the Circumpolar North as well as elsewhere across the world. This workshop aims to compare the role of the state in influencing population movements in ’remote’ regions and those with indigenous populations inside and outside the Circumpolar North.

Examples of such state-induced population movements include labour camps, closure of settlements, sedentarisation of indigenous peoples, involuntary resettlement resulting from resource extraction, military and other security activities, regional labour market and development policies and incentives, land rights, transport projects, policies, and financing. One emerging topic ’from the North’ that resulted from BOREAS MOVE research is the creative agency on the ground by which people appropriate and reinterpret state instruments ’to make ends meet’ and to use them for their own life planning. From this point of view, people ’moved by the state’ are not merely recipients, victims or objects of policy - they are active participants whose responses feed back into revised or new state initiatives of population regulation. At the conference, such a research approach to relocated people as active agents will be discussed in its relevance for assessing the role of the state in population movements in the world’s ’remote’ regions. In this respect the proposed activity takes the BOREAS programme a step further in suggesting a way of "mapping the relationship between central states and local communities" (BOREAS call for outline proposals). BOREAS MOVE research has also revealed new insights as to what contributes to viability, e.g. the different factors influencing the relations between the residents and their environment under different contexts, such as communities of displaced and relocated people. By initiating discussions about these insights at the conference, we contribute to "tracing the dynamics that shape the transmission of knowing about sustainability in a fragile world" (BOREAS call for outline proposals).

The conference presentations will be of two types: a core pool of leading scholars with both regional and theoretical knowledge of the state’s role in population movements will present draft chapters that will contribute to a book that combines BOREAS research results with general theoretical debates of ’induced’ population movement in the world’s periphery regions. This is why a core pool of external scholars is crucial to make BOREAS research relevant beyond the North. Presentations are by invitation only. Participants of this workshop are also invited to stay on for the BOREAS final conference.


The role of the state in population movements:  The Circumpolar North and Other Periphery Regions (October 26-28)
Arktikum Arctic Centre building, Pohjoisranta 4

Contact phone: +358 404844278

Sunday 25 Ocotober

Arrival of participants

19:00 dinner at Comico restaurant
Koskikatu 25, +358 (0)16 334 433

Monday 26 October

8:30 Registration for the MOVE conference and technical checking, entrance hall of Arctic Center building
Morning session: Relocation, Aurora meeting room
9:00  Opening of the conference by Florian Stammler and Peter Schweitzer

09:15 Anthony Oliver-Smith "Out of Place: Toward a Unified Theory of Involuntary Migration and Resettlement"

10:00  Peter Evans "Resignation and Resistance: Some Social Effects of Forced Relocation on an Inuit Community"

10:30-11:00 coffee break, Arktikum cafe

11:00  Chris de Wet "The State as Unwitting Agent of Agency in Involuntary Resettlement: some Recent Reflections from Southern Africa"

11:45  Elizabeth Mikow "A Legacy of Relocations: Remembering the Past and Discussing the Future in Kaktovik, Alaska"

12:15  Nandini Sundar "Counterinsurgency and regrouping - experiences from India"

12:45-13:30 lunch, Arktikum cafe

Afternoon session: Community Viability, Aurora meeting room

13:30  John Taylor "Limits to Diversity: The State and Indigenous Settlement in Remote Australia"

14:00  Alla Bolotova "Collapsing Settlements in the Post-soviet North: Coping with Closure (Case Studies of Rikolatva and Slyuda in Murmansk Region)"

15:00  Masha Nakshina "Indirect role of the state in moving people - shaping local identities"

15:30 Tobias Holzlehner "Ethnography on the Move: The State, Landscape, Memory, and Coastal Travel in Chukotka, Russia"

15:30-16:00 coffee break, Arktikum cafe

16:00  Elena Khlinovskaya-Rockhill "The Role of the State in Population Movements in the North: The Case of the Magadan Region, Russian Northeast"

16:30  Elena Nuykina "Resettlement from the Russian North: failure of state-induced out-migration schemes"

17:00  John Ziker "Subsistence and Residence in the Putoran Uplands and Taimyr Lowlands in the 1920s - 1960s"

17:40-19:20  Exhibition opening "Transmigrations and Ghost Towns" in the Arts Faculty Hall.  With concert by Lapland Chamber Orchestra

19:30 dinner at Polar restaurant
Valtakatu 23, +358 (0)16 333 600

Tuesday 27 October:

8:30 technical checking, Aurora meeting room

Morning session: Migration I, Aurora meeting room
09:00 Peter Schweitzer "Modernizing the Periphery: The Role of States and Political Systems in Moving Populations in Alaska and Chukotka"

09:30  Lee Huskey "Regional Centers and the Stepping Stone pattern of Migration inArctic Alaska"

10:00  Tim Heleniak "A Geographic Analysis of Migration and Population Change in the Russian North"

10:30-11:00 coffee break, Arktikum cafe

11:00  Matt Berman "Household harvesting, state policy, and migration decisions of arctic residents"

11:30  Stephanie Martin "Policies, migration, and settlement patterns in Northern Canada and Alaska"

12:00  Chris Southcott "Contemporary Migration Patterns in the Canadian Arctic: 1981 to 2006"

12:30-13:30 lunch, Arktikum cafe

Afternoon session: Migration II, Aurora meeting room
13:30  Elena Volzhanina "The determinants of Yamal-Nenets demographic change in early 21th century"

14:00  Konstantin Klokov "Population movement in the Russian North in the end of XX century: brief statistical analysis"

14:30  Per Axelsson ""In between lines" - The Swedish state, demographic records and the, Sami population, late 19th century Sweden"

15:00  Olle Westerlund "Age and gender structures of post-migration earnings - evidence from northern Sweden"

15:30-16:00 coffee break, Arktikum cafe

16:00  Enrique del Acebo Ibáñez "Bordering immigration in Argentina" 

16:30  Keith Storey "Commute work in Canada and Australia: Implications for regional and community development"

17:00-17:30  Gertrude Eilmsteiner- Saxinger "Beyond Relocation? Long-distance commute work in the North-western Siberian Far North"

17:30 - 18:15  sum-up of the day, general discussion

19:30 dinner at Oppipoika restaurant
Korkalonkatu 33, +358 (0)16 3388111

Wednesday 28 October:

8:30 technical checking, Aurora meeting room

Morning session: Environmental relocation, Aurora meeting room

09:30  Kanako Kodama "Who needs to conserve the environment? A case study of ’Ecological Relocation’ policy in the Ejene Oasis of the Heihe River, China"

10:00  Elizabeth Marino "’When we talk about stuff like this, it always almost have to be told as a joke’:  Local consequences of a global phenomenon, environmental migration, and western Alaska"

10:30-11:00 coffee break, Arktikum cafe

11:00  "Round Table Discussion about Lessons Learned (including short statements by external speakers)"

12:30-13:30 lunch, Arktikum cafe

14:30 – 17:00

  • time to recover for participants of the next conference
  • press conference (if press is interested)
  • follow up informally and individually on whatever remained open during previous sessions
  • planning meeting of book contributors and editors
  • room for internal discussions
  • departure of some participants.

Farewell & welcome reception, guided tour through Arktikum exhibition, in conjunction with BOREAS final conference  Arktikum, 18:00





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