Call for Papers – Changing Svalbard

Alexandra Meyer and Zdenka Sokolickova will be guest editing a special collection focusing on Svalbard. Deadline for Abstracts indicating interest is 1 July 2020!

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard draws attention. It is of high geopolitical relevance, is considered a “canary in the coal mine” for climate change, and its communities are undergoing profound structural changes as coal mining is complemented with or even replaced by tourism and research.

We invite papers for a collection of articles on the human and societal dimensions of the various economic, social and cultural processes changing Svalbard. This collection of articles will use the momentum of the current great interest of the social science/humanities in Svalbard and provide a platform for displaying recent findings and discussions.

Svalbard’s communities are economically diverse, based on tourism, research and education, and coal mining, and they are non-indigenous, with international and transient populations, playing important geopolitical roles. Being specific in many aspects, Svalbard is simultaneously undergoing changes of global relevance, reflecting challenges faced by many Arctic communities, be it impacts of tourism, climate change, geopolitics, structural economic change or mobility.

We welcome contributions to a collection of articles that address these different aspects of a “Changing Svalbard” from different angles and disciplines, ranging from social anthropology through sociology, archaeology and political science to human geography, cultural studies and arts, as well as papers from the environmental sciences that include a clear focus on the societal impacts of environmental changes.

We encourage case studies that include a focus on the local scale and lived life on Svalbard. They should examine the specificities of Svalbard’s different communities and simultaneously contribute to broader theoretical debates concerning topics such as sustainability, identity, globalization and climate change, challenging dichotomies such as local/global, human/more-than-human, nature/culture, transience/attachment to place, and path dependency/transformation. While the focus is on change in its various aspects, and Svalbard’s communities are easily perceived as ever-changing and extraordinary places, this issue will also trace continuities and shed light on the “ordinary” in life on the archipelago.

We are aiming for a separate collection of articles that form part of the special topic and will be made available online as a block. Please visit our collections for current examples.


Abstracts of potential contributions can be submitted per email to guest co-editor Alexandra Meyer by July 1st. Invitations for full submissions (including research articles, short communications, commentaries and review papers) will be sent to respective authors by July 15th.

Completed manuscripts can be submitted between September 1st and November 15th 2020. All manuscripts must be submitted online through ScholarOne, choosing the special issue “Changing Svalbard” when prompted.

Detailed information for authors can be found here.

The word limit for full papers and review papers is 12,000 words (including references), while commentaries and short communications should have a maximum of 4,000 words.

All submissions will be externally reviewed.

Editors and Guest Editors

The guest editors Zdenka Sokolickova (University of Hradec Králové / University of Oslo / Svalbard Social Science Initiative) and Alexandra Meyer (University of Vienna / UNIS / Svalbard Social Science Initiative) will handle the manuscripts and be the primary contacts for the authors.

Final acceptance of papers for publication will be vetted by the journal’s co-editors-in-chief, Trevor McIntyre (University of South Africa) and Nikolas Sellheim (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), University of Helsinki).


If you have questions regarding the call, please contact the guest editors Alexandra Meyer and cc/Zdenka Sokolickova.