2019 People & The Sea Conference - learning from the past, imagining the future
Amsterdam, the Netherlands | 24-28 Jun 2019

The Conference will take place from the 24th until the 28th of June 2019

Location: Roeterseiland complex, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

On Tuesday the vice-chancellor of the University of Amsterdam, prof. Karen Maex, will open the conference together with Director-General Johan Osinga of the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Prof. Dr. Svein Jentoft (UiT Arctic University of Norway) will then present a first keynote address entitled ‘Life above water’. On following days, there will be keynote addresses by Dr. Fiona McCormack (University of Waikato) and Prof. Dr. D. Parthasarathy (IIT-Bombay).

The centre piece of this jubilee conference is a set of panel sessions featuring former keynote speakers, who have been invited to reflect on the continuing relevance of the perspectives they brought forward at the time, as well as on the content of a social science manifesto for the marine social sciences. Participants include: Eddie Allison, Alpina Begossi, Katrina Brown, Peter Burbridge, Tony Charles, Moeniba Isaacs, John Kurien, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Kevin St. Martin, Rashid Sumaila, David Symes/Jeremy Phillipson, Leontine Visser and Rolf Wilmann.

On Thursday, a conference dinner in the monumental Dominicus Church will top off festivities, as will the presentation of awards for the best student paper.

On Friday, the conference will close with a plenary science policy discussion.

Click here to view the provisional program

To register, click here

The Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) is preparing its 10th international People and the Sea Conference that will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on June 25-28, 2019. This jubilee conference, which is preceded by a policy day (June 24, 2019) and flanked by other events, takes time as its theme. In full awareness of the major ongoing changes in the knowledge industry and how people interact with coasts and seas, we first delve into the past: what have we learned, and to what extent are we making the most of these learning opportunities? From whom should we be learning, and how do we engage in the learning process? To what extent are the insights of earlier generations of social scientists studying maritime affairs and coastal life still relevant to us? We then look forward and ask ourselves what social scientists can contribute to understanding and dealing with coastal and maritime challenges of the future. Topics range from the increasing intensity of storms and their implications for navigators and coastal inhabitants, to plastic pollution and conservation measures, the travails of travelers and the expansion of coastal cities, the fate of long-time inhabitants such as fishers and indigenous people, trends of coastal and ocean grabbing, the regulatory pursuits of planners, officials and scientists, and the ethics of technology.  What perspectives and skills do we have to offer to science and the world; what are our strengths and where do our limitations lie?

Under the broad theme LEARNING FROM THE PAST, IMAGINING THE FUTURE, we investigate a myriad of matters in the context of six streams, each of which highlights a particular aspect of coastal and oceanic affairs.

Stream topics

1: Making a living from coasts and oceans:

From time immemorial, people around the globe have lived beside and upon the coasts and ocean, subsisting and earning their livelihoods. What are the ways in which they subsist and live?  How do such livelihoods impact their culture, social organization, technology and innovations, management and governance structures, way of life, and worldviews? This stream will reflect upon how people in the past, now and in future live and interact with oceans and coasts. This stream is concerned with fishers, navigators, oil platform workers, tourism operators, wind farm mechanics and the whole range of other professions that engage with coasts and seas and with the communities that they belong to.

2: Framing, knowing and dreaming coasts and oceans:

How do we know the ocean and how has this changed over time? What are the knowledge-producing entities, routines and practices through which people study, reflect on and make sense of the ocean? What are the different types of knowledge that guide human interaction with the marine environment? How are they produced and communicated and why are some more influential than others in guiding people’s behaviour? This stream will reflect on how we frame, dream and know oceans and coasts. It thus focuses on marine epistemologies ranging from scientific to everyday forms of knowledge production.

3: Governing, steering and managing coasts and oceans:

The world-wide domestication of coasts and oceans has led to a flurry of managerial activity at various scale levels and in multiple venues. Politicians, planners, legislators, environmentalists, business (wo-)men and scientists consider options to initiate blue growth, save fisheries, reduce pollution and protect the environment, and create a proper and legitimate regulatory environment. ‘Stakeholders’ sit on the other side of the table, participating, protesting, negotiating and undergoing. This stream is about ocean and coastal governance in all its manifestations and human faces, paying special attention to how it has changed and might change yet again.

4: Navigating, touring and experiencing coasts and oceans:

Oceans and coasts play important roles for the transportation of goods and people and provide attractive landscapes and experiences for tourists and recreationists alike. How do we navigate the ocean, and how do present trends differ from the past? What can we expect in future? This stream will reflect on how we use oceans and coasts for transport purposes and tourism experiences, and how these activities have an impact on environments, economies and societies. It thus focuses on a range of maritime mobilities and assesses the sustainability challenges and opportunities of their development at different scale levels and from other angles.

5: Appropriating, contesting and criminalizing coasts and oceans:

Oceans and coasts are subject to ever-rising conflicts over the distribution of space and resources. What is the nature of the ensuing contestations? How are the games played, who are the winners and losers? Oil spills, pollution, ocean and coastal grabbing and man-made disasters suggest disparities between those causing harm and those vulnerable to the consequences. In addition, oceans are a welcome host for illicit activities: smuggling and trafficking of goods and people, brazen acts of piracy, and illegal resource extractions. Securitization is a common response. This stream reflects the rough and dirty side of life along coasts and oceans and related trends of grand and petty politics.

6: Innovating, technologizing and tracking uses of coasts and oceans:

This stream focuses on the changing role of innovations and technology in the transformation of oceans and coastal areas, highlighting the role of business. Discourses of blue economy and blue growth are facilitated by development in fields such as robotics, monitoring and surveillance systems, energy systems and communication technology. We are interested in studies that address how material innovations and technological progress shift the balance between humans and their marine and coastal environments, and the implications this has for people in different stations of life.