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.
Steinberg, P., & Kristoffersen, B. (2018). Building a Blue Economy in the Arctic Ocean: Sustaining the Sea or Sustaining the State?. In U. Gad, & J. Strandsbjerg (Eds.), Politics of sustainability in the Arctic : reconfiguring identity, space, and time (136-148). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351031981-9