Governance and Governing in the Arctic:
An Introduction to the Arctic Yearbook 2015
Lassi Heininen, Heather Exner-Pirot & Joël Plouffe
Defining governance and governing in the Arctic
Governance and governing have several (contested and distinct) meanings across the social and political
sciences’ disciplines and sub-disciplines (Pelaudeix 2015; Cairney 2011; Kjaer 2004; Rhodes 1996, 2000
& 2006; March & Olsen 1995; Rosenau 1995; Newman 2005). As a theme for this issue of Arctic
Yearbook, “Governance and Governing” is intended to provide critical analysis of the often-blurry
functions of transnational and regional cooperation in the Circumpolar North. It seeks to emphasise
governance as processes that embody a multiple set of public and private governing actions (Stoker
1998; Ansell & Gash 2011).
Broadly defined, these two conceptual ideas serve as a setting to map different levels of interactions
(local to international) that constitute the multiple and complex equations of (historical and
contemporary) Arctic geopolitics. Indeed, both concepts are useful since they offer reference points
to conceptualize everyday language and practices embedded in public or private decision-making.
They highlight a puzzle, web or network of northern collective