Half of the world's population is living near the ocean. Modern cultures produced plastic islands, vanishing fisheries and waves of refugees - alongside whale-watching boats and surfing competitions. This panel will reassess transcultural networks of mobility and opens up new fields of concern.
With more than half of the world's population living in coastal areas, news of sea level rise are already showing consequences for the futures of coastal dwellers. The search for new energies opens the hunt for the conquest of the sea as property for exploitation by corporations and nation states. The oceans of the world as immense commons belonging to humankind have turned into contested areas for deep sea mining and for tremendous fields of plastic waste, threatening animals and humans alike. Fisheries are under threat, rules and regulations are set up by governments trying to save the fish for future generations. But on the other side, the sea has never been so attractive for inventing new - blue - economies as today, and alternative uses develop, creating challenging activities. New forms of knowledge and new scientific fields emerge, opening up the oceans for new concepts of use, like aquaculture and for the hope to feed the world with protein from the seas, or to save our energy futures with renewable energies, promising new sustainable life worlds. At the same time, processes of transformation and migration are marking new mobilities. Refugee boats crossing the seas have become a common imaginary of modern worlds, marking boundaries, practices of exchange, movements and highly contested coastal landscapes for those who stay, those who move and those who settle down. The panel aims at opening up new fields of concern for anthropological research inviting papers with experimental ideas and new ways of reflection.