ASTK18460U Forms of Governance in the Arctic

Volume 2024/2025

Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Bachelor and MSc in Anthropology
  • MSc in Social Data Science


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students

States that are located in the Arctic contain territories with sub-state autonomy structures and political practices. Inuit in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Russia have different degrees of autonomy - some are closely entrenched within the states while others opt for independence, state formation and sovereignty. However, Inuit peoples are not an undifferentiated unity and may well have different ambitions and goals. This course will investigate similarities and differences among sub-state entities in the Arctic concerning their developments, degrees of autonomy, forms of governance and ambitions of sovereignty and welfare. Within a theoretical framework of central conceptions and practices, the course will investigate differences and similarities concerning state of affairs, continuity and change and drivers of change in the Arctic.

Learning Outcome


The course objective is to enable students to demonstrate knowledge of the main strands of scientific literature, reports and white papers within political theory, comparative politics and international relations.


The course objective is to enable students to apply theories and analyse one or more cases comparing single aspect or/and asses the interactions of several aspects, and be able to make informed, analytical evaluations of the developments, present situation or/and future perspectives.


The course objective is to enable students to fulfil academic functions in public and private organisations, adequately to handle these in national and international contexts, and successfully to continue their education at the postgraduate level.


  • Lecours, André. 2021. Nationalism, Secessionism, and Autonomy. Oxford University Press.
  • Wilson, Gary N. et al. 2020. Nested Federalism and Inuit Governance in the Canadian Arctic. UBC Press.
  • Kuokkanen, Rauna. 2019. ‘Indigenous Self-Government Structures in Canada, Greenland, and Sápmi’. In Restructuring Relations: Indigenous Self-Determination, Governance, and Gender, ed. Rauna Kuokkanen. Oxford University Press.
  • Rezvani, David A. 2014. Surpassing the Sovereign State: The Wealth, Self-Rule, and Security Advantages of Partially Independent Territories. Oxford University Press.
  • Coakley, John. 2012. Nationalism, Ethnicity and the State: Making and Breaking Nations. 1 edition. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Stepan, Alfred, Juan J. Linz, and Yogendra Yadav. 2011. ‘Federacy: A Formula for Democratically Managing Multinational Societies in Unitary States’. In Crafting State-Nations, Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Mahoney, James, and Kathleen Thelen, eds. 2009. Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power. Cambridge University Press.
The teaching will be based on the principle of ‘student-centered learning’ and take the form of lectures, student presentations and discussions as well as presentations by invited guests and visits at institutions dealing with different aspects of developments in the Arctic. Feedback and advice based on a 1-3 pages abstract of the final assignment submitted during the course.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Written free assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assesment

Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner