Boonstra, Wiebren Johannes, Dahlet, Lol ORCID:, Eriksson, Björn, Selim, Samiya Ahmed ORCID: and van Putten, E. I. (2023) Understanding and analysing the complex causality of conflicts over marine environments through process tracing. Maritime Studies, 22 (2). DOI

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As economic activity in marine environments accelerates and expands, conflicts may increase following increased demand over marine resources, unequal distribution of benefits, as well as fluctuating resource availability and quality due to climate change. Anticipation and resolution of these conflicts require understanding of the causal mechanisms through which they originate and persist. Process tracing is a promising social science method that allows producing this knowledge by sequentially ordering events that produce conflict. The aim of this paper is to introduce process tracing as a method for the study of conflicts over marine environments and to assess how the method so far is used in previous studies of conflicts over marine environments. Our review of these studies reveals that scholars of conflicts over marine environments tend to apply process tracing using a deductive approach and a probabilistic understanding of causal mechanisms. The causal mechanisms that are identified to understand the dynamics that drive conflicts over marine environments often include power dynamics between states, institutions, movements or communities. Less articulated is how local social dynamics drives conflicts and how scholars select their cases to represent a wider population of conflicts. We conclude that applying a micro-sociological approach, more attention to case selection, and the interaction between contexts and mechanisms are promising ways forward for further use of process tracing in maritime studies.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA4
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Social-Ecological Systems Analysis
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 1872-7859
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2023 07:55
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:31

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