This panel engages with the commodification of the sea by bringing together analyses of maritime labour, infrastructure and environment. We invite ethnographies of value-making by, in, and near the sea to look at the work involved in these extractions, and the (un-)making of labour that occurs.
In an era of finite resources and increasingly dramatic climate change, and anxieties over how this will obstruct economic growth, the world's oceans are increasingly becoming subject to many "harnessing", "harvesting" and "domestication" efforts. Our panel aims to critically engage with the ongoing commodification of the sea by bringing together three (in practice often interlinked) trajectories: that of maritime labour, infrastructure, and the environment. We invite papers that combine concerns with political ecology and political economy, and that are based on research in the domains of ship-building/ship-repair and ship recycling; on maritime transport (both cargo, cruise- and ferry vessels); on fisheries and aqua-culture; on off-shore activities (oil, gas, and wind) and sea-related biotechnology as well as mineral exploration. By bringing together different ethnographic cases of value-making by, in, and near the sea, we will look at the technological and infrastructural work involved in these extractions, and the (un-)making of working populations that simultaneously occur. In such a manner, we will be able to interrogate recent maritime industrial buzzwords such as "blue growth" or "the blue economy", thus making a contribution to a dynamic and growing discussion within our discipline on how to effectively take anthropology off-shore.