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Antarctica encompasses a rich range of human interactions that is increasingly becoming inseparable from its natural environment. Although no indigenous populations live on Antarctica, the continent is home to scientific research stations from 30 different countries and is the destination of choice for an increasing number of tourists. Understanding the history of human presence, its social and anthropological dynamics, its politics and its shared cultural constructions are important themes in Antarctica Social Science research and management. The Antarctic Treaty was ratified in 1961 to ensure “in the interests of all humankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”. However, as several countries have overlapping territorial claims, future geopolitical tensions could jeopardize the treaty.  Millions of people have been exposed to Antarctica through its popularization in the media (books, film, TV, art) and this has prompted curiosity and questions of value. The costs of human presence in Antarctic are remarkable from economical, environmental and cultural points of view. Therefore, Antarctica has become the object of innumerable debates and balancing these different viewpoints could have global implications particularly when they affect climate and international policy. Thus, Antarctic Social Science provides a vital contribution to the region's future.

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The content of this page and the webinars were put together by the Antarctic Social Sciences Working Group: Hanne Nielsen, Daniela Sampaio, Daniela LiggettSira Engelbertz, Nelson Soto Santibanez, Hugo Romero, Dora Barbalho, Alex Calvo, Heloisa Lemmertz and Ruth Hindshaw

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APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
Germany
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