Project Description

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of expedition cruises in Polar regions. These expedition cruises have landings in areas where science is already an important sector. This often means that the tourism and science sector need to co-exist. Literature shows that there is a symbiotic relationship between science and tourism in Svalbard. This thesis explores the increasingly occurring relationship between tourism and science in the Arctic by focusing on two cases in Svalbard. Research town Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, as the first case of this paper, displayed the interplay between expedition cruise tourism and scientific activities. This interplay is analyzed by using social practice theory as a framework. The social practices and their links are discovered by qualitative research. As a second case study, the Scientific Expedition Edgeøya Spitsbergen (SEES) in 2015 was studied. A combination of secondary and primary data revealed the connections between the social practices of science and tourism in these two cases. This research shows that the interdependent relationship between science and tourism in Svalbard differs in its context. In the case of Ny-Ålesund, science and tourism appear to co-exist and their social practices are managed in such a way that they can function efficiently. Different findings were done for the SEES cruise, where there was more interdependency between the social practices of science and tourism found. The extent to which the social practices were interdependent seemed to depend on the shared meanings of the people involved with the practices. Moreover, a new practice-as-performance based on the elements of existing social practices seems to be created in this context. The results suggest that more research on the overlapping practices of science and tourism in polar areas is needed in order to fully understand their interplay and the way they could be managed to their full potential.

Author: I. Schumacher (2018)