Communities and New Development Paths in the Sparsely Populated North

Doris Carson, Patrick Brouder, Suzanne de la Barre


This special issue presents a collection of research snapshots from a geographically broad and thematically diverse selection of northern peripheries. Together, they address diverse issues under the theme of ‘new development paths for communities in the sparsely populated north’ from a variety of disciplines, and employ different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies. Initial impetus for this special issue came from discussions between the special issue editors and authors during the 2015 conference of the Canadian Association of Geographers in Vancouver, British Columbia. What started off as a relatively narrow discussion of the role of tourism in stimulating new community development in the sparsely populated north, gradually broadened in scope to consider, amongst other things, more general processes of economic diversification and ‘post-staples’ development, local innovation dynamics, institutional change, and the importance of creative capital, translocal networks, social entrepreneurship, and changing population mobilities, as well as the need to support the inclusion of marginalized (e.g. gender and Indigenous) perspectives for new socio-economic development. This eventually resulted in the present volume of 14 papers, made up of conceptual contributions aimed at advancing a pan-polar discussion of the issues, and specific case studies from northern Canada (Nunavut, British Columbia, Québec, and Newfoundland/Labrador), Iceland (Vatnajökull, Skagaströnd), Norway (Finnmark), Sweden (Västerbotten; Jämtland), and Finland (Finnish Lapland).

Key Words: northern peripheries; translocal; diversification; mobilities

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.