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Title: Public participation, democratic decision-making, and extractive resource management in Greenland
Author: Doering, Nina Nikola
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 741X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Extractive resource development has been viewed as a way for Greenland to increase its financial and political independence from Denmark. However, while Greenland's government has actively promoted the country's resources abroad, criticism over lack of proper public involvement in decision-making has grown in recent years. This thesis examines the dynamics that shape participation and non-participation in Greenland. The core of the thesis consists of four empirical chapters, which approach the topic from different perspectives. First, a major reform of Greenland's municipal structure is analysed. This provides important insights into the relationship between citizens and decision-makers. Second, barriers to participation in public consultation meetings, which form a required part of the licensing process, are explored to understand low attendance levels. Third, efforts of NGOs and environmental groups for improved participation are considered. Finally, a focus is placed on young people's participation. The thesis is based on semi-structured interviews, a survey, and participant observation. Fieldwork took place between September 2015 and the beginning of June 2016 in Aasiaat, Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Nuuk. Aasiaat had previously served as a supply base for oil exploration activities in the region and was chosen as the main field site. The thesis finds that reasons for non-participation are multidimensional and include socio-cultural dynamics as well as hidden and internalized forms of power, highlighting the importance of taking into account historical and geographic factors. It further shows that efforts for improved participation and greater inclusion may reinforce power-imbalances and result in greater exclusion. Together, the chapters argue for the development of new approaches to participation through reflexive and participatory processes. In addition, conceptualizations of participation need to broaden and acknowledge the ways in which the decisions that (young) people take at important moments in their lives contribute to the negotiation of socio-cultural and political change. The findings challenge assumptions of non-participants as disengaged and illustrate how transferred political institutions and practices interact with the socio-cultural context in a particular place.
Supervisor: Powell, Richard ; Daley, Patricia Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available