Long regarded as an empty and inhospitable environment, the deep ocean is rapidly emerging as an ecological hot spot with a remarkable diversity of biological life. Yet, the world’s oceans are currently on a dangerous trajectory of decline, threatened by acidification, oil and gas drilling, overfishing, and, in the long term, deep–sea mining, bioprospecting, and geo–engineering.
In The Geopolitics of Deep Oceans, noted environmental sociologist John Hannigan examines the past, present and future of our planet’s ‘final frontier’. The author argues that our understanding of the deep – its definition, boundaries, value, ownership, health and future state – depends on whether we see it first and foremost as a resource cornucopia, a political chessboard, a shared commons, or a unique and threatened ecology. He concludes by locating a new storyline that imagines the oceans as a canary–in–the–mineshaft for gauging the impact of global climate change.
The Geopolitics of Deep Oceans is a unique introduction to the geography, law, politics and sociology of the sub–surface ocean. It will appeal to anyone seriously concerned about the present state and future fate of the largest single habitat for life on our planet.
- Glossary of Abbreviations and Acronyms
- Text Boxes
- 1. Oceanic Frontiers: Harvesting the Commons
- 2. Governing the Abyss: Sharing the Commons
- 3. Sovereignty Games: Claiming the Commons
- 4. Saving the Ocean: Protecting the Commons
- 5. Conclusion: Global Climate Change and the Future of Deep
"John Hannigan provides a confident and engaging survey of the geopolitics of the deep oceans. He shows, through careful thematic analysis, why we need to turn our collective gaze beyond the shorelines and continental shelves of the world′s continents and islands. While few may actually see these spaces first hand, we urgently need to better understand the deep oceans as they hold vital insights into why the human species is transforming planetary ecosystems and climate."
Klaus Dodds, Royal Holloway University of London
"Each thread of Hannigan’s important book recognizes the value of social science in forging understanding of the deep sea and setting the tone for the use of its resources. Well written and convincingly argued, it is a splendid addition to the scholarship."
Helen M. Rozwadowski, University of Connecticut Avery Point