Browsing by Author "Numminen, Lotta"

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  • Numminen, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The Arctic peoples are currently faced with the challenge of adapting to climate change. Adaptive strategies have been central for the survival of the Northern communities also in the past. This doctoral dissertation is a comparative study of how two Northern societies, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, have responded to challenges caused by the interplay of environmental, political and socio-economic changes. Its main objective is to describe the characteristics of respective adaptive strategies developed in the two societies and to show which connections exist between adaptation and the development of the settlement patterns. This study is based on document analysis, supported by an analysis of demographic and economic statistics. For the field work, the empirical method of landscape-reading was applied. A narrative approach was used to explain interrelations between adaptive strategies and societal developments in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Maps illustrating development and changes in settlement patterns in different time periods are central for this study because they illustrate the impacts of adaptation on settlement development. The results of this dissertation show that people in the Faroe Islands and Greenland have consciously developed their settlements and used this as an adaptive strategy: different types of settlements were established depending on which kind of resource base was available. Strong dependency on a single resource is likely to increase the probability that settlement development was impacted by it. The interrelation of natural resource use and settlement pattern development has weakened in the Faroe Islands and Greenland from the mid-1900s. Since then, the importance of the government settlement policies has become pronounced and the existing settlement pattern, including settlements without prospects for genuine economic viability, has been preserved. Currently, the Northern communities are increasingly dependent on worldwide developments. In the light of this study, the communities can respond to challenges of globalization and climate change and develop new kind of adaptive strategies, such as diversification of their economic activities. This dissertation shows that it is important to extend studies about community adaptation in the High North to consider the overall development of the Northern settlement patterns.