Universität Wien
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210066 VO BAK10: SpezialVO Internationale Politik und Entwicklung (2020S)

Ocean Politics

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 21 - Politikwissenschaft

Liebe Studierende!

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Sprache: Englisch




DO 19.03.2020 09.45-11.15 Ort: Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8; DO wtl von 23.04.2020 bis 18.06.2020 09.45-11.15 Ort: Hörsaal 41 Hauptgebäude, 1.Stock, Stiege 8

Due to a research stay there will be no lectures on 26.3. and 2.4.

Thursday 19.03. Key features of ocean politics

Thursday 26.03. NO CLASSES

Thursday 02.04. NO CLASSES

Thursday 23.04. Marine political ecology

Thursday 30.04. Introduction to the law of the sea - Guest lecture by Gesandter Dr. Thomas Loidl, BMEIA

Thursday 07.05. International organizations for protecting the ocean

Thursday 14.05. The ocean as a global common?

Thursday 28.05. Protecting the deep sea

Thursday 04.06. Protecting marine biodiversity

Thursday 18.06. Protecting the polar marine environment

Tuesday 23.06. Exam


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

This lecture introduces bachelor students to the basic features of ocean politics with a specific focus on ocean protection, marine political ecology and the governance of global commons. Global commons are conventionally defined as “areas and resources that do not fall within the sovereign jurisdiction of states” (Vogler 2012). Starting from the premise that the ocean space is governed by competing interests (territorial, economic, military, political, and scientific) and perspectives (the ocean as a habitat, a resource provider, a transport surface, an object of scientific inquiry), the lecture addresses key legal, institutional and political challenges for ocean protection in 21st century.

The first part of the lecture will introduce students to the historical, legal, political and institutional aspects of ocean protection. Ocean protection seeks to reduce serious pressures on the marine environment, such as: overfishing, ocean acidification, climate change, and pollution. From a legal perspective, ocean protection is a “common concern of humankind” (Harrison 2017: 2). Article 192 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires states to protect and preserve the marine environment. However, a lack of compliance, competing interests, lack of scientific knowledge and the application of different legal principles and norms to different maritime zones and resources pose multiple challenges for ocean protection.

In the second part of the lecture, students will be familiarised with key principles (e.g. common heritage of humankind, freedom of the seas, benefit sharing), international treaties and conflicts that shape how we govern the protection of the oceans. Three cases will be introduced and discussed from the perspective of marine political ecology: the protection of the deep sea, the protection of marine biodiversity and the protection of the polar marine environment.

The course targets Bachelor students interested in the various themes of ocean politics and global environmental politics more broadly. While it may be an advantage if you have some knowledge on ocean issues, global environmental politics or political ecology, the course is still conceptualised in a way that permits all students to participate.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Procedure of the examination

Written exam composed of 20 multiple choice questions (40 Points in total), including questions on the definitions of terms, clarifications of principles and comprehension questions, 2 open questions (10 points each) and one opinion question/Essay (40 points).

• 100 to 90 Points: Very good (1)
• 89 to 80 Points: Good (2)
• 79 to 70 Points: Satisfactory (3)
• 69 to 60 Points: Sufficient (4)
• >60 Points: Poor (5)

General information for students

Time limit - Caution: the end of the test is a "hard" deadline. This means that the test closes at 11:15 and if you start at 10:45 you have only 30 minutes time and not the full time limit!

Legal information for students

You must be correctly registered for this test and meet the eligibility criteria for this competition.

You may not use any unauthorised aids:

By taking this examination you declare in lieu of an oath that you will take this examination independently, without the help of third parties and without unauthorised aids.

Your answers may be subject to a plagiarism test to check whether you have written the exam independently.

Within the assessment period of four weeks, the examiner may also ask oral questions on the subject matter of the examination. This can also be done randomly without any suspicion.

If unauthorised aids are used and, in particular, if the exam is not written independently, the exam will not be assessed and will be documented with an X in the transcript.

Caution: If the test is aborted without good reason or not uploaded to Moodle within the specified period of time, the test will be assessed as "not sufficient". In case of technical problems, please contact the course administration or the examination supervisor immediately.

Examination supervisor

During the examination you can reach the examination supervisor by e-mail: alice.vadrot@univie.ac.at and/or emmanuelle.brogat@univie.ac.at.

If you have technical problems, write us a very short email to notify us. We will be available to support you during the examination time and will do our best to solve any technical problem that might occur.

There will be a "Mock exam" that is NOT mandatory beforehand (5 days earlier)


Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

- Knowledge about the content of all lectures
- Familiarity with key principles, concepts and terminology
- Knowledge about the content of the background literature
- Ability to apply marine political ecology approaches to cases of ocean protection


- All topics of the lecture
- Key principles, concepts and terminologies introduced
- Theoretical apporaches discussed
- Historical, legal and political aspects of ocean protection
- Cases of ocean protection


Thursday 19.03. Key features of ocean politics

Rogers, A.D. and Laffoley, D. (2013). Introduction to the special issue: The global state of the ocean; interactions between stresses, impacts and some potential solutions. Synthesis papers from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean 2011 and 2012 workshops. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 74(2), pp.491–494.

Steinberg, P.E. (2001). The social construction of the ocean. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, pp.8–38.

Letter dated 7 July 2015 from the Co-chairs of the ad hoc working group of the whole on the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects addressed to the president of the general assembly, summary of the first global integrated marine assessment, A/707112, 22 July 2015

Thursday 23.04. Marine political ecology

Jacques, P.J. (2013). Pollution and management of oceans and seas. In: P.G. Harris, ed., Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. London: Routledge, pp.453–467.

Jacques, P. (2006). Globalization and the World Ocean. Lanham: AltaMira Press, pp. 39-64.

Thursday 30.04. Introduction to the law of the sea

Churchill, R. (2015). The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In: Oxford Handbook of the Law of the Sea. Oxford University Press.

Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations (1982). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. [Online] Available at: https://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf.

Thursday 07.05. International organizations for protecting the ocean

Blanco-Bazán, A. (2004). IMO – Historical highlights in the life of a UN Agency. Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d’histoire du droit international, 6(2), pp.259–283.

DeSombre. E.R. (2012). Changing issue structure to avoid free riders: protecting the ocean environment. In: Dauvergne, P. (Ed.) Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, 2nd Edition, Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 40-50.

DeSombre, E.R. (2013). Fisheries and marine mammals. In: P.G. Harris, ed., Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics. London: Routledge, pp.468–480.

Ehlers, P. (2000). The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission: An International Organisation for the Promotion of Marine Research. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 15(4), pp.533–554.

United Nations. (1995). Agreement for the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, Sixth Session, New York, 24 July - 4 August 1995; A/CONF.164/37

Thursday 14.05. The ocean as a global common?

Hardin, G. (1968). The Tragedy of the Commons. [Washington, D.C.]: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Vogler, J. (2012). Studying the Global Commons: Governance without Politics?. In: P. Dauvergne, ed., Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, Second Edition, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp.172-182.

Thursday 28.05. Protecting the deep sea

Hannigan, J.A. (2016). The geopolitics of deep oceans. Malden: Polity Press, pp.50–75.

Lodge, M.W. (2012). The Common Heritage of Mankind. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 27(4), pp.733–742.

Tuerk, H. (2018). The common heritage of mankind after 50 years. Indian Journal of International Law, 57(3–4), pp.259–283.

Thursday 04.06. Protecting marine biodiversity

De Santo, E. M., Ásgeirsdóttir, Á., Barros-Platiau, A., Biermann, F., Dryzek, J., Gonçalves, L. R., Young, O. (2019). Protecting biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction: An earth system governance perspective. Earth System Governance.

Hannigan, J.A. (2016). The geopolitics of deep oceans. Malden: Polity Press, pp.1–49.

Harrison, J. (2017). Saving the oceans through law: the inter

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Fr 12.05.2023 00:19