Chaire de recherche du Canada en ÉPI

Université Laval


Pauline Pic est chercheure postdoctorale au sein de la chaire de recherche du Canada en Économie Politique Internationale depuis octobre 2022. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en sciences géographiques en avril 2022. Ses travaux, dirigés par Frédéric Lasserre (Université Laval) et Stéphane Roussel (ENAP), portaient sur les échelles de la sécurité et de la coopération en arctique. Dans le cadre de son postdoctorat, elle s'intéresse à la gouvernance des espaces partagés et aux dynamiques de pouvoir qui régissent les réseaux d'acteurs impliqués.

Pauline est agrégée de géographie et membre de plusieurs réseaux de recherche canadiens: Observatoire de la Politique et la Sécurité Arctique (OPSA), le Réseau d'Analyse Stratégique (RAS) et le North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN). Elle est aussi Fellow au sein du groupe de travail en Sciences Humaines et Sociales de l'International Arctic Science Committee (IASC).

Intérêts de recherche

Arctique, Espace, Gouvernance des communs, Analyse de réseau, Réseaux d'acteurs, Dynamiques de pouvoir.

Special issue editing

  • Pic, Pauline; Escudé, Camille; Vidal, Florian (2021), Numéro spécial ‘Politiques de l’Arctique’. Études Internationales, 51(1).

    This special issue showcases some contributions presented during the symposium “Arctic policies in perspective” which was held at Sciences Po, in Paris, on December 18 and 19, 2019. These two days of discussions aimed at shedding light on the Arctic in a context of the international development of the region, where the signs of cooperation are always vibrant, as indicated by the signing of the moratorium to ban fishing in the central Arctic Ocean. At the same time, weak signals would indicate an increase in security tensions with the jamming of the gps disrupting civil aviation in the Barents region or the return of the United States Navy to Iceland. Far from an image of a unified, frozen and exotic space, the Arctic is now being recognized as a space at the heart of international relations. This special issue is therefore dedicated to discussing and reflecting on the diversity of these Arctic worlds, based on innovative and transdisciplinary research. The links between different prisms of analysis - geographic, strategic, historical, political science - make it possible to see in the Arctic Ocean and the circumpolar territories a space particularly sensitive to the recomposition of the international political scene as to the climatic upheavals which modify singularly this vulnerable region.

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Peer-reviewed articles

  • Pic, P. P. Evoy and JF Morin (2023) "Outer Space as a Global Commons: An Empirical Study of Space Arrangements" International Journal of the Commons, 17(1), pp. 288–301.

    The designation of outer space as a global commons is a contentious issue. Some argue that officially recognizing it as such could discourage private investment, while others claim that it would not sufficiently promote sustainability. To address these debates, this article examines how space actors use a global commons framework in their institutional arrangements. Based on a collection of 1042 space arrangements, we characterize a subset of arrangements that explicitly reference concepts related to the notion of global commons. We observe that this framework is seldom used in bilateral arrangements and is mostly absent from recent agreements made by influential players. Furthermore, we find that employing principles related to global commons in arrangements does not result in significantly different operational rules. As a result, we conclude that a clearly defined global commons perspective has yet to be articulated and institutionalized. 

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  • Many representations and narratives about the Arctic and Arctic politics carry misconceptions and flawed generalizations. Usually, the term ‘Arctic’ is used as an unproblematized—by default—geographical frame, without considering why this particular ‘Arctic’ framing was chosen and what this choice entails. Yet, considering geographical framing is important as the very choice behind it already carries a political agenda. This paper argues that focussing on the interplay between the different ‘scales’ of the Arctic can shed light on the politics of Arctic scales and resulting discourses. To that end, I analysed every Arctic strategy published by both Arctic and non-Arctic actors. I concentrated on strategies that specifically focused on the Arctic region as a whole, to draw comparisons from these framings. Using thematic analysis, I examined how the Arctic is construed and how the scale at which Arctic issues are framed comes with political consequences. In doing so, I wish to underline the interplay scales and underlying political processes. I conclude by stressing that recognising and attending to the production of ‘scale’ as an inherently political process greatly improves our understanding of regional politics.

  • Pic, Pauline; Babin, Julie; Lasserre, Frédéric; Huang, Linyan; Bartenstein, Kristin (2021). “The Polar Code and Canada’s Regulations on Arctic Navigation : shipping companies’ perceptions of the new legal environment”. The Polar Journal, 11(1), 95-117.

    In 2017, the Polar Code, negotiated under the auspices of the IMO, came into force. Later that same year, Canada issued new regulations applicable to navigation in the Canadian Arctic. In this paper, we investigate how this new legal environment is perceived by shipping companies. We conducted a survey, asking companies, both active and not active in the Arctic, how they assess the impact of the legal changes on their operations. Using a qualitative methodology, we coded and analysed 99 questionnaires. Our research shows that companies not active in the Arctic are, as could be expected, largely unaware of the Polar Code and often unwilling to respond to our survey, showing a limited interest in the Arctic shipping market. Companies active in the Arctic and well aware of the issues of safety of navigation and environmental protection generally welcomed the Polar Code. Respondents were less familiar with the new Canadian regulations, arguably corroborating findings according to which the Northwest Passage is not currently considered a potential regular shipping route.

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  • Pic, Pauline; Lasserre, Frédéric (2020). “Océans, Cosmos, Antarctique : de nouveaux espaces de conquête?”. Relations Internationales, 2(182), 135-152.

    Oceans, especially in polar regions, and outer space, are today considered to be the “last frontiers.” These spaces where states project power are also spaces where states face several specific challenges, which are of an environmental nature in particular. They invite us to rethink the modes of political action. How, then, do states deal with these non-traditional spaces, and how do they structure their action there? In this paper, through several concrete examples, we seek to initiate a process of reflection by highlighting certain logics that underlie the organization of international political action in these spaces. We consider their nature and what the notion of “conquest” implies. The international community has managed to frame potential desires within international conventions. But if legal frameworks do exist, that does not mean that they have the capacity to appease all the tensions created by the desire to control these spaces. The questions raised by current events also highlight complex issues of a different nature, sometimes relating to sovereignty (as in Antarctica, for example), whilst at others relating to sovereign rights, when we speak of extended continental shelves, or the right to place satellites in orbit . . . . These questions also gain a new dimension in connection with the presence of new players, be they state or private. How do these actors conceive of these non-traditional spaces?

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