Brokers of hope: Extractive industries and the dynamics of future-making in post-colonial Greenland

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In the ambitious strategy of Greenland to attract foreign companies to engage in extractive industries as a means to create increased national independence the question of minerals emerges as pivotal. The article investigates how two prominent Greenlandic premiers (2009–2014) translated hard rock into soft human welfare in a complex post-colonial context. The article develops the concept of “brokers of hope” which points the analytical attention to the entrepreneurial activities of future- and people-makers in a dense field of indigenous politics. By linking this concept to the idea of “resource materialities” it becomes possible to see resources as relational assemblages that are in a constant state of becoming and also to examine how different engagements with substances can make certain political struggles and political systems legitimate. Furthermore, the article investigates how these “brokers of hope” use the Chinese interests, and ideas of new cooperation with Chinese partners to underpin the intrinsic motivation to create new beginnings and thus to transform existing asymmetrical relations between Denmark and Greenland. This process is conceptualised as “double orientalism”. The article points out how hope and promise in two quite different ways are creatively used to make the future work in the present and how people and nations are made up in that process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolar Record
Issue numberE22
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Greenland, Extractivism, Hope, future-making, post-colonial relations, resource perceptions

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