Bridging Remote Regions of the Arctic and Beyond II

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Eurasian Specialty Group, Polar Geography Specialty Group, Transportation Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: President's Boardroom, Omni, East
Organizers: Vera Kuklina, Jeremy Tasch
Chairs: Vera Kuklina


Remoteness from centers of political authority and finance remains one of the key characteristics associated with Arctic regions (Berman & Howe, 2013; Huskey & Morehouse, 1992) and is considered an articulation of state power or, rather, lack of it (e.g. Ardener, 1987; Scott, 1998). In geographical studies it is often placed in opposition to accessibility, which in the latest work by Weiss et al. (2018) is considered a function of distance, transport infrastructure, and the spatial distribution of cities. Anthropologists have enumerated the variety of other factors that facilitate and limit mobilities in remote communities (Aporta, 2004; Argounova-Law, 2012; Konstantinov, 2009; Schweitzer, Povoroznyuk, & Schiesser, 2017; Vakhtin, 2017 to name a few) but very rarely by geographers (see Kuklina & Holland, 2018). While most mobility practices remain hidden from official statistical data, with the application of new technologies and the chase for natural resources, remote regions—in the Arctic and elsewhere—are experiencing a boom of industrial development. The common lack of state resources to provide mobility for local communities, together with unreliable data regarding the mobilities of extractive companies operating in remote regions has led to a proliferation of different transportation strategies and practices which we propose to examine, using the notion of “informal transport” (Cervero, 2000).

This session aims to advance the geographical study of remoteness and accessibility based on theoretically and empirically grounded studies of informal transport not only in remote Arctic regions but indeed invites case studies from other non-Arctic regions. The range of possible themes is broad and includes:

- Movement off and beyond official roads, and reconceptualization of the notion of “road”;
- Non-motorized and motorized vehicles operating outside of state regulations;
- Cooperative transport services beyond the state;
- Mediating local environments for mobility;
- Informal mobilities in local communities;
- “Bridging” (as in bridging two ends that may not otherwise meet; the formation of a mediated space between different sets of values; and/or a conscious effort to connect individuals and groups of people through the creation of common ground, literally and/or metaphorically).

Interested participants should submit abstracts (under 250 words) to Vera Kuklina and Jeremy Tasch by September 27, 2018 for full consideration.

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Ardener, E., 2012. “Remote areas”. Some theoretical considerations. HAU: J.
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Argounova-Low T. Roads and Roadlessness: Driving trucks in Siberia. // Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, 2012, no. 6 (1), pp. 71-88.
Berman, M., Howe, L., 2013. Remoteness, Transportation Infrastructure, and Urban-Rural Population Movements in the Arctic. Proceedings from the First International Conference on Urbanisation in the Arctic. 28-30 August 2012. Ilimmarfik, Nuuk, Greenland. Nordregio, 109-122.
Cervero, R., 2000. Informal Transport in the Developing World. Nairobi: UN-Habitat
Huskey, L., & Morehouse, T. A. (1992). Development in remote regions: What do we know? Arctic, 45(2), 128-137.
Konstantinov Y., 2009. Roadlessness and the Person: Mode of Travel in the Reindeer Herding Part of the Kola Peninsula. Acta Borealia, no. 26 (1), pp. 27-49.
Kuklina, V., Holland, E.C., 2018. The roads of the Sayan Mountains: Theorizing remoteness in eastern Siberia. Geoforum. 88, 36-44.
Laruelle, M., (Ed.), 2016. New Mobilities and Social Changes in Russia's Arctic Regions, London: Routledge.
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Scott, J., 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human
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Weiss, D.J. et al., 2018. A global map of travel time to cities to assess inequalities in accessibility in 2015. Nature, 18 January, 553, 333-336.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Elizabeth Alexander*, Royal Holloway, University of London, The oomiak and the ice breaker: Navigating the maritime border between the Diomede Islands 20 1:10 PM
Presenter Paul Richardson*, , Beyond the nation and into the state: identity, belonging, and the ‘hyper‐border’ 20 1:30 PM
Presenter Jeremy Tasch*, Towson University, Bridge, Gate, and Pivot: Russia’s Pacific Gamble 20 1:50 PM
Discussant Jeremy Tasch Towson University 20 2:10 PM
Presenter Vera Kuklina*, Institute of Geography SB RAS, Uliana Vinokurova, Arctic State Institute of Culture and Arts, Educational institutions as a resource for urbanization of indigenous people: case of Yakutsk 20 2:30 PM

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