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Anna-Sofie Hurup Skjervedal's PhD defence


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Towards meaningful youth engagement. Breaking the frame of the current public participation practice in Greenland

With the aim to explore what may characterise meaningful participation and how meaningful youth engagement may be facilitated, this PhD dissertation explores contemporary processes and practices of Public Participation (PP) as an inherent component of social impact assessment (SIA) processes.

The four component fieldworks and papers of the dissertation takes point of departure in a case study concerning the PP process and practice in relation to hydrocarbon exploration activities in Baffin Bay, Northwest Greenland.

Drawing parallels between the Greenland case and PP research beyond Greenland as well as the extractive sector, the component studies reveal strong convergence between PP challenges as experienced in Greenland and within PP research in general, accentuating that there is plenty of room for improvements and a need for further knowledge to shape – and continuously reshape – the path towards facilitating a PP process and practice that is both efficient and meaningful to all parties involved.

A major challenge shared is arguably the gap between the high standards and aims set for PP and realising meaningful PP in practice. Stressing meaningful participation as a vital foundation towards securing a sustainable development at both local, regional, and national levels, the preliminary studies of the dissertation investigate stakeholder perceptions of the concept and current practice of PP in Greenland. The findings indicate that the key barrier towards meaningful PP entails discrepancies in stakeholder perceptions of what PP is, what it should do, and how to do it. The differing perceptions and approaches to PP arguably constitute the primary underlying barrier towards providing an opportunity for people in the potentially affected local communities to influence and shape decisions that may significantly impact their way of life. Further, especially youth is lacking in the PP process and practice.

Get your copy

Please email ashs@plan.aau.dk to get a copy of the thesis

Assessment committee

  • Professor Grete K. Hovelsrud | Nord University, Norway
  • Professor Bram Noble | University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Associate Professor Ivar Lyhne (chairman) | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


  • Professor Anne Merrild | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Professor Mark Nuttall | University of Greenland, Greenland


  • Associate Professor Ivar Lyhne | Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark



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