UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Destination Arctic : bureaucracy, tourism, and identity in Canada Sutherland, Colin Robert


The framing of the Canadian Arctic by federal civil servants often bound to currents in discourse that frames the Arctic as: ‘open for business,’ a remote wilderness filled with threats and risk, and a region that needs to be governed by the Canadian South. It is through policy and its enactment by civil servants that these southern-Arctics are built and projected onto The North. Through discursive analysis of policy, government papers, and interviews with civil servants, this thesis explores the above themes to illustrate the cultural dimensions of Arctic policy. The project uses the expedition cruise tourism industry—which in Canada is primarily based in Nunavut—as a site of analysis. I analyze how agencies and departments interact with this industry to construct the idea of multiple Arctics, each with their own unique impact on the regions present and future. I interrogate how expertise and authority is spelled out and performed by actors to create such Arctics. Environmental transport policy is based in a southern-Canadian logic and is used as a means to control discourse and territory in the Canadian Arctic. Federal civil servants and cruise ship operators produce and perform many ‘Arctics’ that allow Southerners to control the Arctic via discourse and new technologies of power.

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