Flag planting and finger pointing: the Law of the Sea, the Arctic and the political geographies of the outer continental shelf

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The planting of a Russian flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean in the summer of 2007 precipitated a series of policy and media-level reactions including expressions of outrage and discontent. This paper develops an analysis of the work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CCLS) and the different strategies used by coastal states to press ‘claims’ to outer continental shelf (OCS). The agency of Arctic ‘coastal states’ such as Canada, Norway and Russia is noteworthy but others including the European Union and indigenous peoples have also raised concerns about the behaviour of these geographically proximate actors. Finally, I consider other ways of looking at the Arctic as a circumpolar space and the challenges that are held to be facing the region in the present and future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • Arctic
  • International Law
  • Geopolitics
  • Diplomacy

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