Power and Politics in Marine Spatial Planning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
324 Downloads (Pure)


There is growing concern that MSP is not facilitating a paradigm shift towards democratic marine management and that it may simply repackage old power dynamics in the rhetoric of participation. MSP has been advanced using the logic of 'rationality' and 'post-political' forms of planning that emphasise consensus and managerial-technological apparatuses for the governance of socio-political natural spaces. MSP has been described as the rational organization of the use of marine space. Rationality is, however, context dependent and the context of rationality is power. MSP processes are, therefore, arenas where specific and multiple instances of power manifests itself. MSP is also an inherently political (sensu Mouffee, 2005) process. Rather than acknowledging debate and dissensus, MSP is advanced as a neutral, participatory process that can develop win-win outcomes. The result is a choreographed form of governance and participation, with clearly defined roles, processes and acceptable outcomes, which renders invisible the politics of disagreement and legitimises the agendas of dominant actors. This chapter argues that to recapture its democratising potential, MSP requires explicit engagement with power and politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaritime Spatial Planning: Past, Present, Future
EditorsJacek Zaucha, Kira Gee
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-98696-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-98695-1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • Marine spatial planning
  • Maritime spatial planning
  • Power
  • Politics


Dive into the research topics of 'Power and Politics in Marine Spatial Planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this