By Prof Karen Scott
The author is an Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Canterbury, New Zealand,
Article adapted from ‘Scientific Rhetoric and Antarctic Security’ from the book - Antarctic Security in the Twenty-First Century: Legal and Policy Perspectives, edited by Alan D Hemmings, Donald R Rothwell and Karen N Scott, forthcoming, Routledge, April 2012, Chapter 15. Footnotes in the original text have been omitted in this article.
Antarctic has arguably been ‘constructed through science’ as a geopolitical and legal space and science has been used as a surrogate for effective occupation, supporting the ‘colonisation’ of Antarctic. Yet science also provided both the motive and the means to negotiate and adopt, at the height of the Cold War, the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, under the auspices of which, a successful, effective and enduring management regime for Antarctic has been developed.
Scientific activities in the Antarctic play an important role in both supporting and defining states’ political engagement with the Continent. The seven states which maintain territorial claims to Antarctic – Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom – all operate research stations within ‘their’ zones and, even today, fund more or less exclusively scientific research activities located therein. Equally, non-claimant states have used scientific activities and expeditions as a means to deny territorial claims. Within the...