Politics and Power in Marine Spatial Planning.

Abstract: 

Marine spatial planning (MSP) has been lauded as a remedy to unsuitable marine management. There is, however, growing MSP research illustrating that it is failing to foster paradigm shifts towards sustainable governance. The gap between MSP theory and practice is due to its asocial and apolitical implementation. This narrow version of MSP has been advanced through post-political planning and uncritical rationalities. The result is a choreographed form of MSP, with clearly defined outcomes that serve the needs of elite actors rather than the public interest. This chapter argues that to recapture its democratising potential, MSP requires explicit engagement with politics and power. We highlight the use of the boundary object lens and citizen science as two potential avenues to facilitate this engagement.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
January 2019
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Social aspects
Stakeholders
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Stocktake
Coherence with other processes: 
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Renewable Energy Directive

QUESTIONS THIS PRACTICE MAY HELP ANSWER:

  • How do the symptoms of the post-political process appear in MSP?
  • How is MSP depoliticised during its implementation? 
  • How can MSP be re-politicised? 

IMPLEMENTATION CONTEXT:

The study represents a contribution to the book "Maritime Spatial Planning - Past, Present, Future", edited in 2019. 

ASPECTS / OBJECTIVES:

The study aims to analyse the "post-political" process that interferes in maritime spatial planning and how it influenced the expected benefits of such an approach, particularly, concerning the stakeholder participation.   

METHOD:

The article is based on the authors’ research. 

MAIN OUTPUTS / RESULTS:

The authors highlight how MSP can become a post-political nature, and the symptoms of such an evolution. They analyse how the emergence of rationalities can change the expected benefits of the MSP process.

TRANSFERABILITY:  

The issues identified in this study can be found in any MSP process. 

Responsible Entity: 

School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University, Belfast (UK). 

Costs / Funding Source: 

Polish National Science Center  

Northern Ireland Department for Economy 

Contact person: 

W. Flannery: w.flannery@qub.ac.uk