Cold Rush. Dynamics of language and identity in expanding Arctic economic hotspots (Cold Rush)

Main funder

Funder's project number: 296564

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 480 000,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2016

Project end date: 31/08/2021


The Cold Rush project examines the transforming Arctic North as an expanding hotspot at the juncture of economic development and cultural transformation, focusing on the ways in which language and identity matter in these processes.
Reminiscent of the ‘Gold Rush’ in the 19th and 20th centuries, the current ‘Cold Rush’ creates novel profit opportunities and political struggles related to increased resource extraction, transport, and tourism. These processes increase the region’s strategic importance, while opening it up to new ideological confrontations over language and identity as sources of pride and profit. As these key categories of social structuration change, so too do power relations, understood in terms of social inequalities, and struggles over legitimate access to resources.

The objective of the Cold Rush project is to critically examine the consequences of how language and identity matter, and to whom, in economic and cultural processes, through three key field-sites, or “hotspots”, that capitalise on Arctic resources: 1) Arctic in tourism; 2) natural resource extraction and mobile transnational labour in Lapland; and 3) trans-Atlantic circulation of professional hockey players and branding the ‘the North’ for global consumption. In each hotspot, language and identity have high stakes as resources for management and regimentation, rootedness and mobility, profit and loss.
The project’s multi-methodological approach employes critical discourse studies and nexus analysis, critical sociolinguistics and multi-sited, collaborative ethnography.

The project aims at producing a unique understanding of both the value of language and identity in Arctic and global economic development, and the capacity of people to cope with new conditions. It develops smart strategies for cultural and economic resilience in collaboration with stakeholders. It also advances research in emerging field of language, identity and globalising economy, by bring in the Arctic which has only recently garnered attention in humanistic and social sciences.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2021-11-10 at 13:22