Why a Marine Social Sciences Network?
It has long been recognised that our powers to manage the marine environment are limited but it is the management of human activities that has been a major requirement of marine policy. Social sciences are uniquely placed to help inform human management and behaviour. As the natural world evolves in response to a range of drivers (e.g. climate change, population growth, loss of habitat and biodiversity, sea level rise, blue growth initiatives, marine protected area designations, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals), the value of interdisciplinary solutions and the input of social sciences to global challenges is becoming more and more apparent. For marine and coastal environments, understanding social -ecological interactions, and societal values of our seas and coasts is increasingly considered an integral component of decision making and governance. Despite calls for improved interdisciplinarity in addressing global issues facing our coasts and seas for this to be achieved successfully, the value of social science research and approaches in a marine and coastal context needs to be better understood by policy makers and practitioners.
How the Marine Social Sciences Network came into being
Following a meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in London, in January 2018, and a resounding call and enthusiasm for the development of a platform for the growing and increasingly diverse marine social science community. Through MarSocSci, we aim to bring together an international and interdisciplinary community of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and other interested stakeholders to further the discussions around better connecting marine social sciences with existing natural and physical science expertise, supporting the effective marine and coastal management and governance globally.
The Marine Social Science Network is eager to grow, and while we have our central Network that aims to link and be a platform for researchers and practitioners across the globe, over time, you will start to see more regional chapters being started. If this is something you’re interested in, head over to the Regional Chapters pages and remember you can also get in touch with our regional officer to discuss how this would work!
What do we mean by ‘marine social sciences’?
What a big question?! We get asked this a lot. We want to be as inclusive as we can – so, our definition of marine social sciences is very broad. We define marine social sciences as any area of work that relates to the relationship between society and the sea – this could be psychology, sociology, human geography, anthropology, governance and planning, economics, sustainable development, culture and heritage, arts and humanities and more!
Do you have to be a marine social scientist to be involved in the Network or sign up to the newsletter?
No! While the Network was started to provide a space for marine social scientists, we welcome anyone with an interest in marine social sciences, whether it’s traditionally your area of research or not. We welcome anyone working in the various disciplines and areas that are perhaps more commonly linked with traditional science research such as those mentioned above. BUT, if you’re a natural or physical scientist who wants to know more about marine social sciences and is looking for collaboration opportunities, then you’re definitely welcome to join #TeamMarSocSci!