Regulating Oceanic Imaginaries: The Legal Construction of Space, Identities, Relations and Epistemological Hierarchies within Marine Spatial Planning

Maritime Studies, 19, 241-254 (2020)

Abstract: 

This study posit that the relational materiality of the ocean lends itself to the socio-legal construction of marine spaces as ‘common’, i.e. as pluralist spaces where different knowledges and ways of being coexist and intermingle, and where well-being is perceived in composite, socio-natural terms. The authors problematise marine spatial planning, along with its normative, regulatory and institutional underpinnings, as a vehicle for the enclosure of not only marine spaces but also spaces for decision-making.

Year: 
February 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Data
Social aspects
Stakeholders
Type of practice: 
Study
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How normative and institutional underpinnings of MSP shape decision spaces?
  • How is the law influencing the prescription of identities and the promotion of oceanic imaginaries?
  • How traditional indigenous knowledge can be included in MSP?

Implementation Context:

This article has been drafted by researchers from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (UK). This work was presented at the 10th People & the Sea Conference, held by the Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) at the University of Amsterdam in June 2019.

Aspects / Objectives:

This article seeks to demonstrate that a greater engagement with legal-geographical research can provide a deeper understanding of the subjectivities, narratives, and sources of normativity that MSP frameworks make (in)visible

Method:

Using the legal-geographical concept of spatial justice as our point of reference, we posit that the relational materiality of the ocean lends itself to the socio-legal construction of marine spaces as ‘common’, i.e. as pluralist spaces where different knowledge and ways of being coexist and intermingle, and where well-being is perceived in composite, socio-natural terms.

The study arguments are based on European and international legal references of relevance for MSP.

Main Outputs / Results:

This study highlights the fact that what may appear to be a rather theoretical approach to matters of spatial justice within MSP has very tangible applications in relevant legal practice.

Transferability:

This practice is transferable to any MSP process as it gives insights on the legal construction of space and its implication on oceanic imaginaries. 

Responsible Entity:

University of Strathclyde, Law School and SCELG, Glasgow (UK)

Funding Source:

University of Strathclyde, Law School and SCELG, Glasgow (UK)

Contact person:

Mara Ntona: mara.ntona@strath.ac.uk