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Høst 2020

STV-3040 Northern Governance - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Institutt for samfunnsvitenskap

Type of course

Northern Governance is required in the Joint Master's Program in Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas (GENI).

Course contents

Course Description

This course will introduce students to theories of governance so they can apply them in the northern context. The course will give students an opportunity to compare the situation in different countries, in different areas, and for different resources in Northern areas. The course is a venue for students interested in comparing governance challenges in a circumpolar Northern context.

as well as give them knowledge about different historical experiences of colonization and state integration, and contemporary policies and management of selected circumpolar countries. It is a venue for students interested in comparing governance challenges in a circumpolar North context.


Course Content

The course consist of two main parts. The aim of the first, the theoretical and conceptual framework, is to give students necessary tools to analyze different aspects of governance in northern areas. In the second part, the goal is to introduce students to different cases of governance, both to illustrate various aspects of governance and to understand the variety of challenges in Northern areas.  


Theoretical and conceptual framework

The development in the North, and not least the possibilities for a rapid and radical new development resulting from climate change, has renewed and reframed the interest for the Arctic. As part of the change, Arctic states are developing new policies and their cooperation, and actors outside the region want to be involved in decision-making processes. The aim of this part is to present the architecture of politics and government in the Arctic; the main characteristics, how it has developed, and how it possibly might affect the development in the region. The presentation will have a focus on the Arctic in general, but with a particular emphasis on Canada and Norway. 


The "governance turn" originates from an observation that hierarchies, with states at the top as dominant actor, is not a sufficient description of current decision-making. Borders are much more porous, whether it between actors in government, market or civil society, or between different levels of government. Governance structures is not least important when new structures and processes develops.  Multi-level governance has gained momentum from EU-studies, and studies of Arctic development has stimulated debates over regime theory and transnational governance. In this part, analytical dimensions of governance theories is critically discussed related to issues like resource management, regimes, and multi-level challenges.



Large variation and uneven processes characterize arctic development. The governmental framework is quite different from state to state, and prospects and resources vary among local communities and regions. A limited number of cases/areas will be used to introduce students to these sides of Arctic governance. By using cases and not an approach aiming for a comprehensive picture, the goal is to learn from details and specific challenges of governance and next to discuss how to use the experience in new settings. There will a selection of cases by the teachers from main themes like:

Objective of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes:


By the end of the course, students will have acquired advanced knowledge within the fields of different approaches to governance as well as knowledge of the theories of governance and the fundamental operating principles of governance in northern areas.

Student acquired skills

By the end of the course, students have acquired skills making them able to


Student acquired competence

By the end of the course, students will have acquired the competencies making them competent to

Language of instruction

The teaching and examination language is English.

Teaching methods

The teaching consists of a combination of lectures and seminars, including interactive teaching, comprising a total of 20 hours. Video conferencing will be applied during the whole course. The students are expected to be prepared and active during the seminars in discussing legal approaches to the issues at hand. Students are expected to study independently in periods of no seminars or lectures.

Quality assurance

The course will follow the procedures for quality assurance and program evaluation at both Universities. At the University of Tromsø the course follows the Quality Assurance System for the Educational Activities guidelines, as outlined in the GENI program description. Evaluation by partner communities and institutions will be of special relevance for this course. The course will be reviewed at least once during a program period (i.e. six semesters).


The exam will consist of:


A two-part exam:

The final grade is based on an overall assessment.


The exam will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed.

Retake is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F or Fail. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is January 15 for autumn semester exams and August 15 for spring semester exams.

Date for examination

Oral individual presentation 11.12.2020;Take-home assignment hand out date 02.12.2020 hand in date 04.12.2020

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced at your faculty early in May and early in November.