The Political Ecology of Coastal Societies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: School of Social Science


Both the UK and Japan define their identity by their relationship to the sea and both have struggled with the effects of rising sea levels and climate change. This new research network will bring together British and Japanese scholars to develop new social science approaches to the political ecology of coastal societies. Our network will examine two topics. First, the social and political context surrounding the harvesting of seaweed, with special attention to traditional rights and methods of building a "blue economy". Second, we will also investigate the legacies of community-based flood management and mitigation systems in both UK and Japan with an eye to identifying best practice. Both issues are connected and of central concern to authorities in each area. Our network will build around two network seminars and two "scoping events" where British and Japanese researchers will together converse with stakeholders, managers, and visit local communities to investigate the possibility of designing a major research project around one or the topic.

Planned Impact

This project will involve academic researchers from the UK and Japan, and its central goal is to increase collaboration as a means to develop new, high quality research. However, the main ultimate beneficiaries of the work will be policy makers and coastal communities in both countries. To ensure this outcome, our group will work closely with stakeholders and managers involved in the mitigation of floods, and in the design and elaboration of new forms of aquaculture. Both topics have been of central concern to both regional and national authorities in both countries.


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