A great article by Zdenka Sokolíčková available online in Polar Record, Cambridge University Press.
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork data, this article argues there is tension between how Longyearbyen’s residents wish to perform as a community and hindrances the town inherited from its past and accepts as demarcation lines of Norway’s Svalbard politics. The population of Longyearbyen has undergone considerable change since the 1990s, turning from a predominantly Norwegian mining community into a highly diversified group of people from all over the world. This article places Longyearbyen into the wider context of settlements with similar traces (in Scandinavia, the Arctic, multilingual and immigrant communities worldwide, or in the context of extractivism) and discusses the existing barriers of communitification. Encounters with four participants illuminate the tensions and contradictions when it comes to cultivating social cohesion and shaping Longyearbyen’s “desired futures.” Unless the process of increasing the community’s agency is actively encouraged by people living there and those governing it from the outside, the future of the settlement risks being alienating for its inhabitants, weakening further the communitification potential.