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Re-reading marine spatial planning through Foucault, Haugaard and others: An analysis of domination, empowerment and freedom
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2264-6892
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2166-5717
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8536-373X
2019 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, ISSN 1523-908X, E-ISSN 1522-7200, Vol. 21, no 6, p. 754-768Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Marine spatial planning (MSP) has emerged as a radical approach to achieving sustainable development objectives at sea. While critics challenge its avowed radicalness, often through highlighting dominative processes, more insidious mechanisms of restricted agency remain under-elaborated, as are the productive power and potential of planning. This paper offers a more robust and balanced reading of MSP/power. First, drawing on Haugaard, we read MSP as providing actors with dispositional power to act in concert, thus entailing a move from the risks of ‘resource rush’ to structuring, which facilitates predictability and promotes agency. However, MSP’ing may also restrict agency when (1) powerful actors misuse opportunities for concerted action to pursue sectoral goals; (2) planning fantasies and the planner’s cognitive limitation sustain dominative power-relations; and (3) in setting the boundaries of MSP, bias is mobilized in favor of vested interests. We thus deploy Foucault’s notion of freedom, to analyze the relationship between ‘steering’ and resistance subjectivities, and his concept of parrhesias to consider to what extent, an ethico-political planner may contribute towards more equitable processes and outcomes. We conclude that besides the planner, the state as the ultimate authority in MSP must intervene substantively to minimize differentials in the distribution of actors’social resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2019. Vol. 21, no 6, p. 754-768
Keywords [en]
Development studies, Marine spatial planning; agency; empowerment; domination; Foucault and Haugaard
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38064DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2019.1673155ISI: 000489951000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85073939705OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38064DiVA, id: diva2:1307043
Funder
BONUS - Science for a better future of the Baltic Sea region, 185The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 2186/3.1.1/2014
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2019-04-25 Created: 2019-04-25 Last updated: 2019-11-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The “Dark Side” of Marine Spatial Planning: A study of domination, empowerment and freedom through theories of discourse and power
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The “Dark Side” of Marine Spatial Planning: A study of domination, empowerment and freedom through theories of discourse and power
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to contribute to the marine spatial planning (MSP) literature by elaborating a robust theoretical account of power for a more rigorous and balanced critical analysis of MSP. Conceived as a problem-solving regime, MSP has emerged as a radical approach to govern the use and protection of marine resources. However, critics are questioning the radicalness of MSP, particularly its ability to address issues around knowledge, stakeholder and land-sea integration, as well as power asymmetry, distributive justice and equity. Nonetheless, critics largely conceive power in MSP as restricting agency. Even so, insidious mechanisms of power remain under-examined, as are the productive power and potential of planning. This thesis brings concepts from discourse and power theories together (drawing on Foucault, Laclau and Mouffe, and Haugaard) to conceptualize various mechanisms of power in MSP. The framework is then brought into dialogue with planning issues in Estonia and Poland. Empirical data are drawn from semi-structured interviews, legal judgments, planning and policy documents, as well as position papers and media statements, which are produced by planners, officials, developers, fishers and coastal residents. The following findings and conclusions are reached. First, MSP’ing (verb form) restricts agency because (a) in planning encounters, powerful actors misuse opportunities for concerted action to reach sectoral rather than collective goals; (b) in setting the agenda, various biases are mobilized in favor of vested interests; and (c) the fantasmatic power of planning conjoin with the planner’s cognitive limitation to naturalize and sustain subjugation. Second, MSP is a laudable system. It provides stakeholders with the dispositional power to get things done in concert, which entails a normatively felicitous move from the risks of open commons-type conflicts and chaos to structuring and predictability. Third, when planning is rigidly done within the confines of legality and programmatic norms, “free” subjects of planning may be transformed into immovable subjects of resistance, who may develop contestatory strategies that have transformatory potentials. Fourth, to both facilitate equitable planning processes and outcomes, and ensure efficiency and stability, not only must the planner be reflective of the norms and ideologies that shape her actions and/or inactions, but the state as the ultimate governing authority in MSP must also take measures to minimize asymmetries in the distribution of social resources. The thesis makes a call for scholars to contribute towards planning praxis through analyzing who the weakest actors are in each MSP setting, what their context-specific needs are, and what empowerment may entail for them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2019. p. 180
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 164
Keywords
marine spatial planning; discourse; power; domination; empowerment; freedom; conflict; resistance; small-scale fisheries; offshore wind energy
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38051 (URN)2186/3.1.1/2014 (Local ID)978-91-88663-67-2 (ISBN)978-91-88663-68-9 (ISBN)2186/3.1.1/2014 (Archive number)2186/3.1.1/2014 (OAI)
Public defence
2019-05-29, MA624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
BaltSpace
Available from: 2019-05-08 Created: 2019-04-25 Last updated: 2019-05-09Bibliographically approved

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