The ocean and its inhabitants sketch and stretch our understandings of law in unexpected ways. Inspired by the blue turn in the social sciences and humanities, Blue Legalities: The Life & Laws of the Sea, explores how regulatory frameworks and governmental infrastructures are made, reworked, and contested in the oceans. Its interdisciplinary contributors analyze topics that range from militarization and Maori cosmologies to island building in the South China Sea and underwater robotics.
Throughout, Blue Legalities illuminates the vast and unusual challenges associated with regulating the turbulent materialities and lives of the sea. Offering much more than an analysis of legal frameworks, the chapters in this volume show how the more-than-human ocean is central to the construction of terrestrial institutions and modes of governance. By thinking with the more-than-human ocean, Blue Legalities questions what we think we know—and what we don’t know—about oceans, our earthly planet, and ourselves.
Contributors. Stacy Alaimo, Amy Braun, Irus Braverman, Holly Jean Buck, Jennifer L. Gaynor, Stefan Helmreich, Elizabeth R. Johnson, Stephanie Jones, Zsofia Korosy, Berit Kristoffersen, Jessica Lehman, Astrida Neimanis, Susan Reid, Alison Rieser, Katherine G. Sammler, Astrid Schrader, Kristen L. Shake, Phil Steinberg.
“Not a minute too early, the ‘blue turn’ finally takes pride of place in legal thinking. Blue Legalities balances the legal and the liquid in all their emanations. The contributions span from the oceanic depths of our planet to the glimmering surface of our limited comprehension, combining in an undeniably poetic whole, law, politics, science, anthropology, history, and philosophy amongst other epistemes. The feat of this book is diving headlong in the fathomless challenge of treating the material and the textual as one ontological ripple.”
—Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, author of Spatial Justice: Body, Lawscape, Atmosphere
“Elisabeth Mann Borgese, one of the architects of the first Law of the Sea conference, argued that any approach to the ocean must be inherently interdisciplinary. Irus Braverman and Elizabeth R. Johnson have fulfilled this claim with a wonderful interdisciplinary collection. Plumbing the depths of human and more-than-human life and law at sea, this volume is a welcome and timely contribution to the field of critical ocean studies.”
—Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey, author of Allegories of the Anthropocene
“The contributions vary in their exploration of the pluralistic nature of ocean legal orders, and in their exploration of the interactions between such orders. But there is much in this volume to engage the legal pluralism scholar, with case studies that are timely and provocative.”
—Melanie G. Wiber, Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Related Book Chapters
(2020). “Blue Legalities: Untangling Ocean Laws in the Anthropocene.” Introduction to Blue Legalities: The Laws and Life of the Sea (coauthored with Elizabeth R. Johnson) (Duke University Press). Link
(2020). “Robotic Life in the Deep Sea.” In Irus Braverman and Elizabeth R. Johnson (eds.), Blue Legalities (Duke University Press). Link