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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 252; doi:10.3390/su10010252

How Marine Protected Areas Are Governed: A Cultural Theory Perspective

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have become recognized as important management tools for marine and coastal ecosystems in the last few decades. However, the theoretical underpinnings of MPA regimes have arguably not yet received sufficient attention. This paper attempts to remedy this by exploring how the Cultural Theory initiated by Dame Mary Douglas can provide a theoretical foundation for the current debates about the design of MPA regimes. It does so by firstly noting that the various types of MPA governance discussed in the literature correspond to the ways of organizing, perceiving and justifying social relations recognized in Cultural Theory. The article continues by setting out how Cultural Theory helps to explain when and why MPA regimes succeed or fail to reach their goals. In particular, the article highlights the practical importance of accommodating all ways of organizing and perceiving social relations in any MPA management plan. Finally, the paper suggests that further systematic, empirical work for assessing MPAs needs to be undertaken so as to corroborate the arguments advanced in this paper. View Full-Text
Keywords: Marine Protected Areas; Cultural Theory; clumsy solutions; messy regimes Marine Protected Areas; Cultural Theory; clumsy solutions; messy regimes

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Halik, A.; Verweij, M.; Schlüter, A. How Marine Protected Areas Are Governed: A Cultural Theory Perspective. Sustainability 2018, 10, 252.

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