Greenland in the Margin of Europe: Post-Colonial Sovereignty Games

The project analyses the relations between the EU and a series of post-colonial micro-states in the margin of Europe: the self-governing "overseas countries or territories" of an EU member state and the Nordic microstates (Greenland, Iceland, French Polynesia, British Virgin Islands, etc.). On the one hand, these microstates seek an independent sphere of action in relation to their metropole - on the other hand, they develop an intimate relation to the European Union. The project analyses sovereignty games to which this double movement gives rise. The comparative project was co-directed by Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Ulrik Pram Gad, and was co-financed by the Danish Social Science Research Council, Carlsberg Foundation, Augustinus Foundation, Stjerngren's Foundation, and Letterstedska Foundation. 6 theoretical contributions and 13 case studies has been published in:

Adler-Nissen & Gad (eds) (2013) "European Integration and Postcolonial Sovereignty Games. The EU Overseas Countries and Territories", Routledge's New International Relations series

Gad & Adler-Nissen (eds) (2014) special issue on "Post-imperial Sovereignty Games in Norden"; Cooperation and Conflict (39:1).

A forthcoming book (in Museum Tusculanum's book series 'Monographs on Greenland / Man & Society') unfolds the Greenlandic case by analyzing how the Greenlandic self-image as being on the way to sovereignty – and the tensions involved in this image –structures the triangular relation between the EU, Greenland and Denmark. As such, a central condition for a continued 'Community of the Realm' between Greenland and Denmark is the idea that Greenland still needs external assistance in its development towards independence. However, the bilateral relation between Denmark and Greenland has gradually been opened up to involve other Others - or, in other words: Greenlandic national identity is gradually becoming post-colonial even if sovereignty is still postponed to the future. The book approaches these changes in national identity discourse and practical foreign policy with two analytical strategies: a discourse analysis reads Danish and Greenlandic political debates, and practical diplomacy is uncovered via qualitative interviews with key actors (politicians, civil servants, and diplomats from Greenland, Denmark and the EU). Spin offs in Politik 14(1) and Grønlandsk Kultur- og Samfundsforskning (2012).

Rebecca Adler-Nissen and Ulrik Pram Gad were the primary researchers on the subject.


Rebecca Adler-Nissen
Phone: +45 30 22 40 75