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The environment and emancipation in critical security studies : the case of the Canadian Arctic.

Harrington, Cameron and Lecavalier, Emma (2014) 'The environment and emancipation in critical security studies : the case of the Canadian Arctic.', Critical studies on security., 2 (1). pp. 105-119.


The traditionally dominant discourse of The Great White North views Canada as a land of vast wilderness and abundant resources. However, this discourse excludes growing environmental risk and prevalent insecurity felt by vulnerable populations in Canadian society, namely indigenous groups whose livelihoods are deeply dependent upon their relationship with their environments. The effect of the relationship between the physical environment and conceptions of security can contribute to a deeper understanding of traditional and critical accounts of security. This article investigates traditional Canadian environmental security discourses and alternative environmental security discourses promoted by Arctic Inuit groups. It examines how these discourses impact the analytic and normative goals of critical security studies and interprets the way in which they affect the concept of emancipation. It argues that Canadian security is co-constituted with its understanding of the environment, and that the Canadian case compels an expansion of the notion of the referent object of security to include the environment – a change which throws it into contrast with other schools of critical security, whose visions of emancipation might not, as currently theorized, be equipped to overcome these phenomena.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Studies on Security on 17 Apr 2014, available online:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:06 December 2017
Date of first online publication:17 April 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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