Edited by Shannon O’Lear
Chapter 3: Science, territory, and the geopolitics of high seas conservation
Environmental geopolitics are always premised on particular ways of knowing the environment, scientific and otherwise. This chapter considers how scientific modes of observation, measurement, interpretation, and visualization influence the territorialization of ocean space for conservation. Drawing on two cases – the effort to protect biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction through international policy venues and the creation of the Sargasso Sea Geographical Area of Collaboration – the chapter illustrates the ways in which geopolitical power operates in and through the performance and uptake of scientific research, across multiple sites and venues. Emerging understanding of oceans as fluid, mobile, and dynamic offer new ways of thinking about territory, even as conventional understandings of territory constrain ocean governance.
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