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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Elizabeth Johnson

Braverman, Irus & Johnson, Elizabeth R. Blue Legalities: The Life and Law of the Sea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press; 2020.

Author(s) from Durham


Blue Legalities is inspired by the emerging “blue turn” in social sciences and the humanities about oceans and their inhabitants. But as important and comprehensive as this “blue turn” has been, it has yet to substantively and creatively take up questions of ocean law and governance. Specifically, increasing concerns around warming temperatures, increased pollution, sea level rise, ocean acidification, bio-harvesting, and deep-sea and sand mining are driving regulatory changes and raising questions about the nature of territory, sovereignty, and long-established claims in international law. The rapid technological and ecological transformations that have taken place over the last few decades are now altering the ways that the seas are governed, suggesting an urgent need for more critical attention to the laws of the seas, in their broadest and most pluralistic articulations. Blue Legalities offers such an intensified analysis, focusing on the ways in which our political frameworks and legal infrastructures have been made, contested, and are currently being remade in the oceans.