Use it or Lose it: Canadian Identity and the Construction of Arctic Security Policy

Michael P McCormack, Florida International University


This dissertation investigates the specific factors that drive state action in Canadian Arctic security policy, particularly in relation to securitization of the Arctic region and historical factors that influence decision-making. The purpose of this research is to develop stronger linkages between securitization processes and actual policymaking. When studying the Arctic as a defined geographical space, we see considerable differences between Arctic states when it comes to how cultural and historical attachment to the Arctic region may serve as a selling point for the ability of national governments to justify allocation of defense resources to their respective publics. Using the Canadian case, this research illustrates the strength of identity factors when compared to day-to-day bureaucratic politics and the influence of public opinion. This dissertation does not follow the ideas of one particular theoretical paradigm, but instead utilizes eclecticism to better illustrate the depth of the various factors that may contribute to policymaking. Additionally, the effects of policymaking and securitization processes are measured through public opinion. The ultimate findings of this research support a hypothesis of linear identity factors as a major influence on Canadian Arctic security policy, but also suggest that research on securitization theory needs to better connect rhetorical v securitization processes to actual policymaking. Through this, the research not only provides value in using this case as a test for the strengths and limits of securitization theory, but also emboldens understandings of security policy as being driven by a combination of domestic policy, foreign policy, endemic historical factors, and government strategic communication practices.

Subject Area

International Relations

Recommended Citation

McCormack, Michael P, "Use it or Lose it: Canadian Identity and the Construction of Arctic Security Policy" (2017). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10744534.