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British science and the forge of Antarctic politics: the links between science and the British Antarctic politics, 1895 and 1961

Grant number: 17/11227-7
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2017
Effective date (End): September 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - International Politics
Principal researcher:Rafael Antonio Duarte Villa
Grantee:Ignacio Javier Cardone
Supervisor abroad: Christopher Kinsey
Home Institution: Instituto de Relações Internacionais (IRI). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: King's College London, England  
Associated to the scholarship:15/05909-2 - The Antarctic regime formation: from the VI International Geographic Congress, to the Antarctic Treaty signature (1895-1959), BP.DR


The United Kingdom has always been a key player in Antarctic politics. Almost all studies regarding the politics of the white continent on the period previous to the Antarctic Treaty have taken into consideration the British policy on those latitudes. Much of those studies have centered their attention into the geopolitical variables that influenced the British imperial ambitions, and when considering the role of 'science', they usually have ascribed it a merely 'instrumental' -when not absolutely accessory- role. Based on the idea that scientists and scientific institutions have played a significant role in shaping the Antarctic politics, we contend that 'science' could not be reduced to being instrumental to the imperialist policy, and that exerted important influences on the political agenda setting and further structuring of southern polar politics, particularly in determining the shape of the final arrangement of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. In order to contrast those ideas and adopting a pluralistic approach informed on the Historical Sociology, we will apply a process tracing of the British Antarctic history through archival material available at the UK National Archives, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society, the Scott Polar Research Institute and the British Antarctic Survey, between others; paying special attention to the involvement of scientist and scientific institutions, alongside other geopolitical, economic and ideational variables. (AU)

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