Networking the Blue Economy in Seychelles : Pioneers, Resistance, and the Power of Influence

Schutter, Marleen (2018) Networking the Blue Economy in Seychelles : Pioneers, Resistance, and the Power of Influence. In: Society and the Sea, 2018-09-06 - 2018-09-07. (Unpublished)

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Narratives within neoliberal discourse around environmental governance do not exist in a vacuum. They are continually being constructed, negotiated, and maintained by a network of human and non-human actors, who, through their own agency and power, can influence the outcome “on the ground”. This paper provides an empirical contribution with data from the Seychelles, where a Blue Economy narrative together with a debt-for-nature swap has been shaping environmental governance in practice – but practice in turn is also influencing the concrete application of these ideas. Seychelles has a unique position in Africa, due to its remote location in the Indian Ocean, its political history, and its pioneering role in promoting the Blue Economy, including Blue Bonds. Using a social network approach enriched with non-human actors, this paper a) investigates the actors that are involved in Blue Economy-influenced environmental policy making in Seychelles; b) how these actors are interlinked regarding information, resources, and direction; c) what the perceived influence is of each of the actors; and d) what this means for the way in which Blue Economy in Seychelles is constructed and brought into practice by environmental and research organisations. We find that a select number of human and non-human actors – both from in- and outside Seychelles – is driving the narrative. These actors are performing as the agents of change, and we find that their narrative about “turning the ocean into a development space” is not necessarily widely shared amongst stakeholders, and indeed often met with resistance within Seychelles. However, these select actors are important in determining how the Blue Economy manifests itself in policy and practice. The findings presented here are the foundation for future research in Seychelles, that will focus on a more qualitative approach in order to reconstruct the debt-for-nature swap deal, the resulting Marine Spatial plan, and the rise of the Blue Economy in the country, as well as the extent to which this is perceived to have influenced, and is being influenced by, a change in the perception of ecosystem service values.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
Society and the Sea
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Deposited On:
28 Sep 2018 08:50
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 08:36