From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

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CIAO DATE: 03/02

On the Encounter Between the Nordic and the Northern: Torn Apart but Meeting Again?

Pertti Joenniemi and Marko Lehti

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
October 2001


The North is no longer as immobile and sedimented as before. It does not just mark something local and extremely peripheral but has turned into an increasingly legitimate marker of Europeanness in the form of the EU's Northern Dimension Initiative. The marker is not just used to frame some space in the margins of the European configuration; it is also used as an umbrella in coordinating the relationships between specific regional formations such as Nordic, Baltic, Barents and Arctic cooperation. This added centrality of the North raises a host of questions about the unfolding of political space in the northern part of Europe. Our aim here is to tackle some of them by exploring in particular the encounter that is now unfolding between the new North and the more traditional Norden, two configurations that to some extent compete for the same space. Essential relationships are being renegotiated, this enforcing various actors to choose between different representational frames, each with their own specific identities and spatial coverage. Above all, we seek to provide the encounter with a temporal background in viewing both of them as discursive constructs that are condusive to change.