Blue Paradigms: Understanding the intellectual revolution in global ocean politics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The oceans have received extraordinary international attention in global policy and research. New insecurities and uncertainties, ranging from intensifying interstate disputes to persistent piracy and overfishing as well as to pollution, deoxygenation and climate change imply that the oceans are increasingly seen as being in crisis. This revolution in thinking about and addressing the oceans is driven by new ideas of why the oceans need political attention and care. In this article we demonstrate how four key new ‘blue paradigms’—maritime security, blue economy, ocean health and blue justice—have evolved and turned the oceans into a new area of priority. Each of these paradigms drives global ocean politics in different directions, which implies risks of fragmentation and conflicts. We work out the key differences between paradigms, investigating their underlying problematization, priorities and communities of practices involved. This provides a new map for navigating the complexity of global ocean politics useful for policy-makers and scholars. Thinking through paradigms also establishes a new analytical framework that allows for identifying conflicting priorities, tensions between ocean communities of practice, and ideas of how these can be managed. We conclude with a call for creative thinking of how synergies between the blue paradigms can be achieved in strategy, planning and research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1719–1739
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Ocean, ocean governance, maritime security, Blue economy, blue justice, ocean health, BLUE CARBON

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