The Politics of Presence: The Longyearbyen Dilemma 


  • Torbjørn Pedersen Nord University


The large presence of Norwegian citizens in Svalbard has subdued the misperception that Norway’s northernmost territory has an international or internationalized legal status. Now this Norwegian presence in the archipelago is about to change. Amid tumbling coal prices, the state-owned mining company Store Norske is shrunk to a minimum, and no current or proposed business in Longyearbyen has the potential to compensate for the loss of Norwegian workers, in part due to their international character and recruitment policies. This study argues that the likely further dilution of Norwegians in Longyearbyen may ultimately fuel misperceptions about the legal status of Svalbard and pose new foreign and security policy challenges to Norway. 

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Author Biography

Torbjørn Pedersen, Nord University

Professor (Associate)

Faculty of Social Sciences



How to Cite

Pedersen, T. (2017). The Politics of Presence: The Longyearbyen Dilemma . Arctic Review on Law and Politics, 8.



Original Articles


Arctic, foreign policy, international law, International Relations Theory, Longyearbyen, presence, sovereignty, Svalbard.