Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 104

104 Arctic Yearbook 2015 Self and Other, where the outside of the delineation is constitutive to a certain identity (Laclau 1990; Torfing 1999: 299), meaning that what defines the collective ‘Us’ is first and foremost that ‘We’ are different from ‘Them’ (cf. Laclau & Mouffe 2002: 82). An Other can either be perceived as an antagonistic enemy that threatens the very existence of a state (cf. Campbell 1992: 48) or an agonistic1 competitor which merely represents different values that are tolerated due to the common acceptance of fundamental democratic rules (Mouffe 1993: 4). In the development of a collective Greenlandic identity, Denmark has been the primary Other, while ethnicity has traditionally been perceived as something congenital (cf. Sørensen 1994: 168-169), as to be a Greenlander seems to require at least one Greenlandic parent (Petersen 1991: 17; Kleivan 1999: 98). Secondly, the identity narrative has been connected to language; reified culture, such as hunting traditions; and a romantic, intimate relation to the Greenlandic nature (Sørensen 1994: 108-109). Such characterisations of self-images are found through historical analyses (Wæver 2002: 40), and by drawing on exemplary analyses highlighting exactly these three cultural components (cf. Gad 2005), this paper will narrow down the focus to how language (cf. Langgård 2003: 231), hunting rights (cf. Sørensen 1991: 189; Thomsen 1998: 21f.) and nature (cf. Pedersen 1997: 154ff.) have been articulated as a matter of protecting the Greenlandic collective identity. When linking a state’s identity representation to its foreign policy, a security policy focus is essential (Wæver 2002: 26) as articulations of external dangers or threats to the state’s existence and identity is what legitimises a particular foreign policy (Campbell 1992: 12). To define a threat is in Wæver’s terms to securitise; a political and discursive action (Wæver 1995: 55) that seeks to justify specific state-centred acts (ibid.: 65) that ultimately allow temporary disregarding of fundamental rights (Buzan & Wæver 2009: 217). On the international level, Greenland is, however, a special case as it is not yet a state and military security policy is still in the hands of Copenhagen. Instead, this paper subscribes to a wider understanding of security, and special attention will be given to the issue of societal security whose reference object in this case is the collective Greenlandic identity that may be perceived as threatened by different external actors or values with putative potential for eroding the nation (Buzan et al. 1998: 121). As Greenland has never been a state, the basic constellation of a collective We has been dominated by the so-called culture nation (Gad 2004: 121), characterised by a widespread perception of culture and identity as an essence (Sørensen 1994: 168ff.) rather than something dynamic and interchangeable. This reflects how Greenlandic culture is generally believed to be an ethno-national community, whose members have an internal, cultural core in common, that should be protected from external interference (Gad 2008: 274, 281). An ethno-national community is “an extremely powerful mode of subjectivation” (Wæver et al. 1993: 22) and as the national narrative is formed, different subject positions are ascribed to people within the group who, again, stand in contrast to other groups defined by different predicates, hence constructing a meaningful and mutually defining Us and Them (Howarth 2005: 157). As the foreign policy analysis develops it will become visible how different subject positions are ascribed to the Greenlandic people depending on the situation. Particularly the subject positions ‘minority’ and ‘equal partner’ will be identified throughout the analysis as the international communication by Greenland’s political representatives sometimes rest upon a perception of Greenlanders as a minority with special rights or on a perception of Greenlanders as an equal partner The Power of Collective Identity Narration