Blue economy discourses and practices: reconfiguring ocean spaces in the Philippines

paula.satizabal [ at ]


Blue economy initiatives have emerged along marine and coastal areas, seeking to bring the green economy into a ‘blue world’. Often defined as a global policy agenda, blue economy discourses and practices aim to generate ‘blue growth’ by linking poverty reduction, social equality, and marine conservation. While global and national policies have spent decades addressing coastal resource management, broader blue economy discourses and practices seem, on the surface, to promote economic growth strategies for marine conservation. Increasingly, new market-oriented programs and projects aim to tap the financial value of the ocean’s ‘blue capital’, ostensibly fostering income generation and sustainable solutions for conservation finance. Drawing on critical discourse analysis and key-informant interviews across scales, we examine the meanings and practices of the blue economy in Southeast Asia and in the Philippines. As an archipelagic nation, millions of coastal dwellers in the Philippines depend on oceans as a major source of livelihood, food security, and well-being. We examine how multilateral institutions, bilateral organisations, state agencies, civil society organisations, and other key actors represent and enact the blue economy discursively and in practice. We find that oceans are being imagined as an open frontier that must be managed and utilised for both conservation and economic purposes. New territorialisation processes are creating new borders and management structures that often bypass social and environmental safeguards, posing a major threat to coastal dwellers. We conclude that by foregrounding economic development and coastal management, more socially just and environmentally sustainable governance approaches are neglected.

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DOI 10.1007/s40152-020-00168-0

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Satizábal, P. , Dressler, W. H. , Fabinyi, M. and Pido, M. D. (2020): Blue economy discourses and practices: reconfiguring ocean spaces in the Philippines , Maritime Studies, 19 (2), pp. 207-221 . doi: 10.1007/s40152-020-00168-0

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