Competing Paradigms Antarctic Geopolitics
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
As a continent dedicated to peace and science, the role of politics and international relations is sometimes perceived to play a secondary role in Antarctica. To the contrary, this article argues that political and diplomatic considerations at the forefront of state interaction on ‘the ice.’ In doing so, the article uses traditional International Relations frameworks to analyse the actions of China, the United States and New Zealand in Antarctica over the last 10-15 years. An assessment of the three dominant theoretical traditions: Realism, Liberalism, and Constructivism, alongside an examination of some of the key questions facing Antarctic geopolitics today, will enable a synthesis of theory and action within some major political debates. The promotion of Constructivism as the most convincing theoretical framework through which to view these Antarctic actions is largely due to the importance of national identity in each nation’s Antarctic presence. Ultimately, the rise of China in both world and Antarctic politics presents distinct challenges to more traditional leaders like the US (and to some extent New Zealand) and could potentially threaten the established hierarchy that has for so long maintained peace in Antarctica.