LASHIPA (Large Scale Industrial Exploitation of Polar Areas)

The LASHIPA project is a historical-archaeological research project within the framework of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-08 (see www.ipy.se). The objectives of the project are to explain the development of industry in the polar areas from the 17th century until today and the consequences of that development for geo political situation and the natural environment there.

Dag Avango is the coordinator of the LASHIPA project and is working on two sub-projects within its framework – at the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen in the Netherlands and at the section of History of Science & Technology at KTH (se separate sections below).

In this project, the section of History of Science & Technology collaborates with university departments and research institutes in the Netherlands, USA, Russia, Norway and Great Britain. The LASHIPA project will brake away from the national frameworks so common in Polar history, and will instead seek explanations and understandings from an international comparative perspective.

The project deals with research problems concerning

1.the driving forces behind industrial development in the polar areas
2.the transfer of technology and community planning to polar environments
3.international competition over natural resources
4.international competition for national influence over polar no-mans lands
The project is led from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands).
Start: 1/3 2007
End: 1/7 2011
Funding: The Dutch Science Council (NWO). Also the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR) and the National Science Foundation in the USA (NSF)

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1. “Green Harbor, Spitsbergen and the international history of exploitation of the polar areas”
The objective of this LASHIPA sub-project is to produce general explanations to the development of industry in the polar areas, from an international comparative perspective. The point of departure is a number of industrial projects within whaling and mining in three different geographical areas, from the 17th century to the present –Spitsbergen (Svalbard) in the European Arctic, and South Georgia and South Shetland islands in the Antarctic. The project deals with research problems concerning the driving forces behind industrial development in the Arctic and Antarctica, the interaction between companies and national governments in the competition over natural resources and national influence in the polar areas, and the strategies of industrial companies when establishing stations in extreme polar environments.
Start: 1/9 2007
End: 1/9 2010
Funding: The Dutch Science Council (NWO)

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2. “Rituals and symbols in the struggle over the polar areas and their natural resources”
The objective of this LASHIPA sub-project is to study the relation between industrial activities in the polar areas and the development of the geo-political situation there, from an international comparative historical perspective. In previous research on the political history of the polar areas, the focus has been on international negotiations. In this project symbolic and ritual activities in the landscapes will be focused, in order to explain the strategies of industrial companies in securing claims to natural resources and influence for their national governments. A central hypothesis is that these activities, historically and in the present, have been of special importance for the development of the international power relations in the polar areas.
The project will focus on two former no-mans land regions in the polar areas where the struggle for natural resources and political influence have been substantial – Spitsbergen (Svalbard) in the Arctic and the South Shetland islands in the Antarctic. A third case study concerns South Georgia, an island in the Sub-Antarctic claimed by Great Britain. The research is based on archival as well as archaeological sources. Theoretically, the project uses the concept of “rituals of possession” (Seed, Sörlin and Bravo) and Actor Network Theory (Latour, Law, Callon). The research will bring new important knowledge on the role of industry in the development of the geopolitical situation in the polar areas, and add important new knowledge about the relation between technology and politics.
Start: 1/9 2007
End: 1/9 209
Funding: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR)

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3. Archaeological field investigations of whaling stations at South Georgia and Deception Island, within the framework of the LASHIPA project
This project consists of two archaeological field expeditions to Antarctica/Sub-Antarctica. These expeditions constitute a central part of the data collection within two sub-projects within LASHIPA. The first is titled ”The 20th century whaling stations at Finneset, Green Harbour (Svalbard), Deception Island (Antarctica) and Prince Olav Harbour (South Georgia); a historical-archaeological comparative study” (PhD proj. of Ulf Gustafsson, funded by the Dutch research council, NWO). This project investigates the development and consequences of whaling in the Arctic and Antarctic in the 20th century. The second project is “Rituals and symbols in the struggle over the polar areas and their natural resources”, described in the above. The field investigations will answer questions concerning how actors from different nations, in different time-periods and geographical circumstances, used symbol and rituals to secure national influence and control over natural resources. Moreover, it will answer questions concerning the strategies of industrial companies when adapting their industrial operations to polar conditions – transfer of technology, community planning and social organisation of production.
South Georgia: March 2009
Deception Island: January 2010
Funding: The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet, VR)

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Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Jun 04, 2012