When social sustainability becomes politics – perspectives from Greenlandic fisheries governance

Rikke B. Jacobsen, Alyne E. Delaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This article approaches the topic of social sustainability as a discourse which holds potential for affecting fishery policy and investigates the extent to which this potential has actually materialised. The article identifies an Arctic social sustainability discourse and asks how it interacted with Greenlandic fisheries governance in the period from 2010 to 2012 when a major individual transferable quota (ITQ) reform was introduced into one of the largest coastal fisheries in Greenland: the coastal Greenland halibut fishery. The analysis is based on an impact assessment study of the ITQ reform, a self-reflexive discourse analysis of the social scientific production of truths relating to “Arctic social sustainability” and participant observation of the policy-making process. The article concludes that in the planning of the ITQ reform, the “truths” provided by the social sustainability discourse were deemed less relevant than the ones provided by competing discourses on biological and economic sustainability. The article suggests the possibility that the social sustainability discourse was dismissed because it was equated to a previously dominant political stance in Greenlandic fishery policy which the ITQ reform was meant to replace.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalMaritime Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1


  • Arctic communities
  • Fisheries
  • Greenland
  • Policy-making
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social science
  • Social sustainability


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