King's College London

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Mr Felix Mallin

Education/Academic qualification

  • Master of Arts, MA Geopolitics, King's College London

    2018

Research interests

The Political Geography of Sea-level Rise in Kiribati

My doctoral thesis advances a critique of the political economy of climate change in the geographical context of the Pacific islands region. Informed by multi-sited, qualitative research undertaken in Kiribati and Fiji during 2016, it subjects the nexus of environmental politics, institution-building and finance-led resolve mechanisms that has emerged in the wake of rising sea-levels to rigorous scrutiny. In doing so, my research uncovers the ways in which these developments are intrinsically linked to the emergence of new forms of ocean-space enclosure and resource extractivism – especially through ocean conservation and future deep-sea mining projects.

In ideological, political and financial terms, these processes are buttressed by a plethora of regional and cross-regional economic visions and projects operating at different geographical scales (e.g. Pacific Oceanscape, Marine Spatial Planning, Maritime boundary delimitation projects, etc.). One of the most important initiatives that is currently underway in this regard is the ‘Blue Economy’ or ‘New Ocean Economy’. For its proponents, the new model signals a revolution in marine-based economies that will bring about a win-win-win situations, in which the wants and needs of coastal communities can be reconciled with cosmopolitan concerns for ‘ocean health’ and profit generation all at once. Critical inspection, however, shows that the grounded outcome of these initiatives is the incremental commodification, parcelling and privatisation of ocean space, and hence rather the exacerbation of inter and intra-regional developments. Identifying prospects for the organization of a coherent political counterforce therefore depends on grasping the contradictions internalized by the new political regime. 

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