Regional Knowledge Production and the Politics of Scale

In the previous chapters I have tried to answer the initial research question of how climate change is framed in the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA). Relying on documentation of the ACIA process, I have also attempted to answer to what extent different framings relate to specific structures of international cooperation. This chapter summarizes the main findings of my analysis of the ACIA and relates them to the overall aim of the dissertation: to examine how the interplay between policy and knowledge production affects the framings of Arctic climate change. I will also revisit my analytical framework to discuss the relationship between actors and structures in the ACIA.

The chapter is organized as follows. The first section is a summary of the main results from the empirical study of the history, process, and content of the ACIA. The focus is on how structures of international cooperation have influenced the framing of Arctic climate change, including some mechanisms of regime influence. The second section relates these finding to notions of fit and proper spatial scale in structuring the science-policy interface. It emphasizes the politics of scale and how the context of a regional regime brought new actors, with new scale preferences, into climate knowledge production and policy. The third section also focuses on the science-policy interface but this time in relation to actors and how the regime context and the assessment structure made the ACIA salient, credible, and legitimate to different actors. The fourth section revisits the regime concept and argues that studies of knowledge production benefit from a structural focus that pays attention not only to regimes but also to the influences of primary institutions of international society and to actor networks. The chapter concludes with a discussion of what the ACIA might teach us about the role of regional arenas in international climate policy.

A cross-cutting theme in this concluding chapter, as in the dissertation as a whole, is that science and knowledge production are intimately intertwined with political power relations. This is not a new insight, having been highlighted in discourse analysis, actor-network theory, and research on the co-production of science and policy. This study illustrates the relevance of highlighting the knowledge-power relationship also for understanding international environmental policy and international scientific cooperation and how they can shape the framing of an environmental problem.

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