Research from the Lab indicates a hidden, non-codified regime governing the oceans

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In research published in Marine Policy, a top international relations journal, Rafael Lobo and Peter Jacques argue that there is a non-codified regime– or set of rules– governing the World Ocean.

In the paper, the researchers used quantitative content analysis which looks at text as behavior that writers commit to, and in this case they used all of the existing State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture reports going back to 1995.  The methodology attempts to understand the priorities, norms, and values incorporated in the text, assuming that each category of concern is a form of attention, and norms demand attention. The process involves looking for words that are part of specific categories– such as ecological life support, social values like equity, and several other categories. The Lab students assisted in validating the coding scheme of how to place words into categories with reliable results.

The results indicated that economic values dominated the text, far and away more than any other category of concern, with over-fishing ironically receiving some of the least attention.  The researchers then demonstrate that there are affiliated norms of extraction and pure volume of resources, and that these norms form a World Ocean Regime that guides much of what happens in ocean politics.

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