The importance of largescale structures

In addition to a focus on regimes, the history and process of the ACIA highlights that it may be useful to also analyze the role of political structures that are not issue- or place-specific. As laid out in Chapter 2 of this dissertation, Buzan has suggested the term primary institutions to refer to fundamental structures of international society such as sovereignty, great power management, and colonialism, which are generally more enduring than specific regimes and influence a broader range of issues.23 One example from the study of the ACIA illustrating that the process may be better understood with attention to primary institutions is the relative lack of knowledge about Russia. The old East-West division of the world put a damper on circumpolar knowledge production during the Cold War. The inadequate networks to Russian scientists in the ACIA also illustrate the relative structural inertia in overcoming this division of the Arctic. Another primary institution of importance to the ACIA is colonialism. In this case, the extensive inclusion of indigenous knowledge into the ACIA can be seen as a move away from the colonial structure of knowledge production in the Arctic and a shift in the primary institutions that also affects knowledge production. With this wider structural focus, the role of more specific regimes can be analyzed in relation to these larger structures. The Arctic Council with projects such as the ACIA and the goals of sustainable development and protection of the environment could be seen as the expression of a shift towards an emerging primary institution in international society that Buzan calls environmental stewardship.24

22 Guston, "Boundary Organizations in Environmental Policy and Science: An Introduction"; Cash, et al., "Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Development."

23 Buzan, From International to World Society, chapter 6.

24 Buzan, From International to World Society, 187.

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