Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies

Volume 1 – Issue 1

May 2017


With this first issue of the Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies (JASS) we wish to introduce a journal which, as we see it, contributes to the shaping of an area that has up to now not been addressed by any other journal.

JASS brings together and reflects three fields of study, which together make up a particular core problematique: autonomy, security, and minority issues. We believe that these issues are of great importance in the complex and multilevel world of today, and that by bringing them together new insights may be gained.

In this first issue we present three articles, which may look thematically very different. Nevertheless, they all reflect perspectives on the outer world that emanate – although not totally, of course – from relations between perceived centres and peripheries in colonial, regional and multilevel settings characterised by some asymmetry.

It should come as no surprise that asymmetry, whether formulated in terms of classical power terms, or as a globalization perspective, is likely to be a recurrent theoretical and empirical point of departure for studies in a journal that deals with autonomy, minority and security issues. This first issue of JASS is an illustration of this.

Article Overview

The Åland Islands, Finland and European Security

in the 21st Century

Saila Heinikoski

This article will review the Åland Islands in the European and Finnish security context. The Åland Islands is a demilitarised, neutralised and autonomous province of Finland, and the aim of the article is to look at how the more than 160-year old demilitarisation regime relates to the current security context. The time period to be examined is limited to the 21st century, encompassing deeper security cooperation of the European Union and debates on Finnish foreign policy in the European context as a non-NATO country.

A major theme of the discussion is to look at the militarisation trends in Europe and how that might affect Finland and the Åland Islands. The article also touches upon topical issues such as Brexit, advancement of European security cooperation and Finnish NATO debates. It examines the demands for change concerning the status of the Åland Islands as well as how security is approached from the Ålandic perspective. Moreover, the issue of what could happen if Finland would join the NATO is discussed.

The article concludes that the status appears to have very stable role stipulated in international law, despite securitising and militarising trends in the surrounding region. Indeed, a multilateral solution such as demilitarisation serves as a contrast to the regionalisation operating on military logic.

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Mapping Historical Consciousness: Mental Maps of Time and Space among Secondary School Students from Ten Locations around the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas

Janne Holmén

The article investigates the temporal and spatial structure of historical consciousness among secondary school students from ten locations around the Baltic and Mediterranean seas. It examines what eras and spaces in history that are important to the students, and discusses how the mental maps of individuals at a certain location are affected by geopolitics and interpretations of historical experiences.

The results are mainly based upon one open survey question: Write down the name of as many important historical figures as possible within five minutes. Psychological theories of memory are used in order to explain how such simple memory retrieval can be used in studies of historical consciousness. The data from the survey is presented in the form of maps, using techniques of mental mapping developed by geographers,

The empirical investigation reveals three categories of historical consciousness: national, found in Italy and Morocco, Americanized, found in Sweden, and multipolar, found in Estonia and on Åland and Malta. The article argues that each of the three strands of historical consciousness is linked to specific historical and geopolitical circumstances.

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Comparative Study of the Autonomy Arrangement of the Former Netherlands Antilles in Relation to the Åland Example

Lotte Tange

In this research, the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is examined as an example of an autonomy arrangement that has been subject to change, but is at the same time inflexible due to its robust constitutional entrenchment. With special reference to particular timeframes and conflicts, this research compares the autonomy arrangement of the former Netherlands Antilles to the Åland Example.

All autonomies evolve in their unique directions. The ones embedded in a relatively stable and democratic environment maintain longest over time, and contribute to the organisation of a state. As of now, the autonomy arrangement of Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten seems to be constitutionally stable as it is domestically entrenched in multiple ways that are comparable to the Åland Example, and safeguarded by the international community that advocates the right of self-determination of former colonies.

The relations within the Kingdom of the Netherlands are, however, not completely exempted from the ghosts of the colonial era, as is visible in the authority of the country of the Netherlands within the Kingdom relations, both institutionally and in its structural parenting role when it comes to law enforcement and finances. In the right words of the fox in The Little Prince, the Netherlands still maintain a certain responsibility for their `tamed´ territories in the West.

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Additional Material

Project Note:

Autonomy Arrangements in the World

Salat & Constantin

The ongoing project ‘Autonomy Arrangements in the World’ was created as a result of the collaboration of a variety of institutions at a correspondingly named conference in Flensburg in 2012. The project aims to address shortcomings of contemporary research on autonomy identified at the conference.

The conference’s call for papers resulted in the publication of an edited volume comprising 16 case studies in 2014. Launched in July 2016, the web platform of the project “Autonomy Arrangements in the World” provides free access to data on territorial and non-territorial arrangements, also including lesser-known examples such as indigenous forms of self-governance, to scholars, decision- and policy-makers, and the public in general.

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Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies - ISSN 2489-4265

Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute
Hamngatan 4
AX-22101 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland


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