This panel aims to discuss the relationship between contemporary international relations and the sea, looking particularly into: issues of sovereignty, foreign policy, national interest definition, geopolitics and sea power, among others.
Contemporary world affairs have tended to increasingly neglect sea-related issues. Either due to the codification of international law, the reduction of interstate conflict, or the role of international regimes, International Relations has steadily been diverting its focus towards different issues. The same is true for the definition of public policies and foreign policy strategies, where states themselves seem to corroborate (or incentivize) a declining role of the sea, both in internal policy and international relations. The sea is only considered as the environment where some specific and marginal activities happen (such as piracy), or as the landscape where relevant international activities occur (as with most international trade), without much specific research into its particular role. This panel aims to reassess the relationship between international relations and the sea, including papers with either theoretical, empirical, or both approaches. We are particularly interested in issues related with: sovereignty, foreign policy, national interest definition, geopolitics and sea power, international obligations, diplomatic disputes/conflicts, status of the seas and foreign policy/international relations (high seas, exclusive economic zone, deep sea bed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction), among others. Additionally, we will consider both a metaphoric role of the sea (in official discourse or policy proposals, for instance), and concrete power-enhancing strategies. All contributions with a distinctive International Relations perspective are most welcome.