Awash with contradiction: Capital, ocean space and the logics of the Blue Economy Paradigm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Over the course of the past decade, the political economy of global ocean space has entered into a process of significant transformation. In this context, multilateral, corporate and financial attention dedicated to so-called ‘blue growth’ and ‘blue economy’ schemes has been extraordinary; consequentially spawning critical inquiries into the origins and motives behind these initiatives. Offering different analytical interpretations of contemporary blue economy politics, as well as their origins and effects, geographers have entered this debate with a strong focus on institutional discourses and policy agendas. Building on critical political economy of ocean space literatures, this paper emphasises instead the role of capital in appropriating and re-organising the seas according to its own needs. Our primary aim is to elucidate the territorial-economic tensions and geopolitical antagonisms that drive current trends by historicising the emergence of the Blue Economy Paradigm (BEP). The paper shows that a Procrustean political geography of ocean space increasingly poses a barrier to capitalist expansion.


External organisations
  • National University of Singapore
  • Transnational Institute (TNI)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Globalization Studies
  • Economic Geography


  • Deep-sea mining (DSM), Geopolitics, Maritime geography, Ocean grabbing, Political economy, UNCLOS
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
Early online date2020 May 10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul
Publication categoryResearch