Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Economic and Socialcultural Effects of Developing Cyber-Infrastructure for Global information Storage in Iceland (Award# 1418268)

PI: Rofel, Lisa (
Phone: (408) 459.3615 
Institute/Department: U of California, Santa Cruz, Social Sciences 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Anna Kerttula (
Discipline(s): | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This research is the dissertation project of Alix Johnson, PhD candidate at the University of California Santa Cruz. Ms. Johnson's research will investigate how the increase in private and public investment in global information infrastructure in Iceland affects social-cultural, economic, and governance systems, as well as national identity. Information technology and trade is often proposed as a solution to the economic challenges of many rural Artic communities. The research has the potential to inform other Arctic communities about the societal impacts of information technology as an approach to economic self-sufficiency in the north. This project will examine a range of ongoing efforts by private and public entities to make Iceland an "information haven" - an attractive location for storing data from around the world. By building data centers, founding start-ups, and passing "information-friendly" legislation, Icelanders hope to carve out a national niche and attract global data to Icelandic infrastructure. The project will explore how the development of this new infrastructure is changing local Icelandic livelihoods and senses of national identity. Juxtaposing the globalization of information with nationalism and sovereignty, identity and place-making is a new look at these processes in the Arctic, processes that Arctic communities will see more of in the coming decades.

Logistics Summary:
Beginning in February 2015, this grant supports a twelve month dissertation research. The Co-PI will engage in participant observation, conduct informal interviews, and summarize archival research in Reykjavik and Reykjanesbaer, Iceland, in order to understand Iceland's transition into an "information haven" after the global financial crisis of 2008. This research will advance understanding of the intersections of technology, national identity, and transnational dynamics.

All logistics will be organized by the researcher and paid through the grant.
SeasonField SiteDate InDate Out#People
2015Iceland - Reykjanesbaer06 / 01 / 2015 09 / 30 / 20151
2015Iceland - Reykjavik02 / 01 / 2015 12 / 31 / 20151

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