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On thick ice: scientific internationalism and Antarctic affairs, 1957-1980

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Abstract:

This paper focuses on the role played by scientific internationalism in Antarctica during the two decades that followed the signing and ratification of the Antarctic Treaty in 1961. The paper shows that the Treaty was a response to the threat to the 'free world' represented by the installation of Soviet bases in Antarctica. Scientific internationalism was used as a diplomatic weapon to respond to that threat. In the 1960s, the development of international cooperative research allowed the USA, the largest logistic operator in Antarctica, to gain control of local affairs by penetrating into strategic areas, influencing the policies of other nations, and defusing existing tensions between them. This was the case with the International Antarctic Glaciological Project, a multilateral glaciological and geological research effort in East Antarctica. In the 1970s a far more complex political situation developed, defined by changes in the US Antarctic policy and the rise of military regimes in South American countries.

Keywords: Antarctic Treaty; Antarctica; Cold War; geopolitics; scientific internationalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/07341510802357419

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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