The case for an alternative border management paradigm in the North American Arctic

Professor Christian Leuprecht

The literature, policy, and practice in managing borders and their integrity in North America is dominated by paradigms from the continent’s more southern borders – since that is where most people live and most good cross the border. Yet, these paradigms are either not applicable or ill-suited to managing land borders in North America’s Arctic: the type and amount of traffic in people and goods differs in both proportion and absolute numbers, the nature of security threats is quite different, and the way security and threats are conceptualized by local communities is quite different. In sum, assets in Northern North America are scarce and exponentially more expensive to deploy. Instead of the indiscriminate transfer and application of border management norms and practices from elsewhere to the North, this paper works towards developing a border management paradigm that is sensitive to the endogenous and exogenous constraints of managing borders in the North American Arctic.


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