Indigenous peoples have inhabited the arctic and subarctic regions for millennia. In recent centuries, the colonial reach of southern states and empires has changed the political and demographic situation of these regions significantly. Even more recently, economic migrants from the Global South have started to move north, contributing to the colourful ethnic and cultural mosaic that characterizes the “New North”.
Climate change brings about new challenges and opportunities: the receding sea ice threatens traditional subsistence activities, while new resource development becomes possible, to name just a few effects. Given that it is people who make decisions about human-environmental interactions in the North, the scientific study of arctic and subarctic social and cultural systems is imperative. The field of arctic social sciences works in close collaboration with the humanities and natural sciences, in order to address present and future issues and problems of the North.