We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Building a blue economy in the Arctic Ocean : sustaining the sea or sustaining the state?

Steinberg, Philip and Kristoffersen, Berit (2018) 'Building a blue economy in the Arctic Ocean : sustaining the sea or sustaining the state?', in Politics of sustainability in the Arctic : reconfiguring identity, space, and time. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 136-148. Routledge studies in sustainability.


Calls for sustainable development in the Arctic are linked with the global turn to a Blue Economy. To consider the relationship between the Blue Economy agenda, sustainable development discourse, and Norwegian ocean policy, we first consider the literature on Blue Economy discourse and development programmes, drawing in particular on the work of Young Rae Choi, who argues that promotion of a Blue Economy should be seen as part of the effort to apply state governmentality in an emergent space of sovereign interest. We then apply this analysis to the Arctic through a study of Norway’s Blue Economy initiative. We conclude that in its effort to group together numerous competing ocean uses within a single, sustainably managed, ocean industry, the Norwegian state constructs the ocean as a space that is beyond politics and therefore appropriate for state intervention. This finding, in turn, suggests that when the sustainability discourse is integrated with a post-political managerial agenda, the ultimate referent object of sustainability may be the manager itself: in this case, the state.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Politics of Sustainability in the Arctic: Reconfiguring Identity, Space, and Time on 04 October 2018, available online:
Date accepted:11 June 2018
Date deposited:29 January 2018
Date of first online publication:04 October 2018
Date first made open access:04 April 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar