Working Session: The Pacific Ocean as a New Frontier? (!)
Throughout the 20th century, the concept of “frontier” was used to highlight various aspects of colonial processes and encounters in different parts of the world. It has also been mobilized to describe social and political dynamics in Africa in both precolonial and contemporary contexts (Kopytoff 1987, Chauveau et al. 2004).
This initially African perspective is different from – but potentially complementary with – the notion of “tidal frontier” developed by Turner (1921) in relation to the US history; a colonial frontier whose “other side” must also be explored as best illustrated by Reynolds (1981) regarding Australia. As a continuation of a working session held at the 2017 ESfO Conference in Munich and with the goal to end with a collective publication, this panel aims to examine whether the concept of “frontier” can be heuristically used to analyze both the new rush for natural resources and the still-increasing momentum for biodiversity conservation that are taking place in the Pacific Ocean, as well as the effects of these phenomena on the governance of this political space. The expansion of industrial fishing activities, oil and mineral offshore explorations, large-scale marine protected areas and networks of locally managed marine areas in this ocean occurs in a shifting environmental and political context. Here the legacy of late colonialism, the interplay of multi-level powers, indigenous claims, juridification processes, and the conflictual dialectic between extraction and conservation collude to shape the “last conservation frontier on Earth” (Gjerde et al. 2016) simultaneously experienced as an “Ocean in us” (Hau‘ofa 1998). Through its focus on “frontier”, the panel invites participants to propose original, long-term and cross- disciplinary approaches of these current reconfigurations of/in the Pacific Ocean.
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D’Arcy P., 2006. The People of the Sea: Environment, Identity, and History in Oceania. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Gjerde K.M. et al., 2016. Protecting Earth’s Last Con- servation Frontier: Scientific, Management and Legal Priorities for MPAs beyond National Boundaries.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosys- tems 26: 45-60.
Hannigan J., 2016. The Geopolitics of Deep Oceans. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Hau’ofa, E., 1998. The Ocean in Us, The Contemporary Pacific 10 (2): 392-410.
Kopytoff I., 1987, The Internal African Frontier: the Mak- ing of African Political culture, in I. Kopytoff (ed.) The African Frontier. The Reproduction of Traditional African Societies. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana Uni- versity Press, p. 3-84.
Reynolds H., 1981. The Other Side of the Frontier: Abo- riginal Resistance to the European invasion of Australia, Sydney: UNSW.
Steinberg P., 2001, The Social Construction of the Ocean, Cambridge; Cambridge University Press.
Turner F.J., 1921. The Frontier in American History. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
Pierre-Yves Le Meur, IRD (GRED), Montpellier, France <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
Elodie Fache, IRD (GRED), Montpellier, France <email@example.com>;
Estienne Rodary, IRD (GRED), Nouméa, New Caledonia <firstname.lastname@example.org>