Remaking Oceans Governance

Critical Perspectives on Marine Spatial Planning

in Environment and Society
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  • 1 Duke University luke.fairbanks@duke.edu
  • 2 Eckerd College boucqun@eckherd.edu
  • 3 Duke University lisa.m.campbell@duke.edu
  • 4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service sarah.wise@noaa.gov
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Abstract

Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.

Contributor Notes

LUKE FAIRBANKS is a Research Scientist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. His research interests include human-environment interactions in ocean and coastal spaces, as well as geographic approaches to understanding environmental policy and management. Email: luke.fairbanks@duke.edu

NOËLLE BOUCQUEY is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Eckerd College. She studies the social, political, and spatial dimensions of marine resource use and governance, with particular attention to how physical and virtual infrastructures mediate knowledge, resource access, and governance practices. Email: boucqun@eckerd.edu

LISA M. CAMPBELL is the Rachel Carson Professor of Marine Affairs and Policy at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research interests include oceans governance and how science and non-state actors inform governance processes and outcomes. Email: lisa.m.campbell@duke.edu

SARAH WISE is an anthropologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service. Her research explores the intersection between science and policy and the cross-scale effects on coastal communities, and particularly focuses on informational pathways and decision-making under conditions of rapid social and environmental change. Email: sarah.wise@noaa.gov

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