in: Stefan Partelow / Maria Hadjimichael / Anna-Katharina Hornidge (eds.), Ocean governance knowledge: systems, policy foundations and thematic analyses, Cham: Springer Nature, 25-45
Ocean governance requires us to know the ocean. However, the knowledge systems that have shaped how and why we know the current ocean have been historically limited. In the present, they often subdue other knowledge systems that, if and when recognized and included into governing processes, not only move towards social justice and inclusion but can also improve decision-making and practical outcomes. The concept of epistemic inequalities encapsulates the disparities between different ways of knowing and their influence in ocean governance. For example, since the rise of colonial Europe, European-centric white male ideologies have long dominated global development practices. Within science, some disciplines have substantially more power than others, represented by funding and policy influence. In turn, local and indigenous knowledge systems, feminist ideologies and a broader range of highly valuable ways of knowing and doing in the sciences are far from equally participating in shaping ocean development discourses, decision-making and governance processes affecting the future of ocean sustainability. This chapter provides a theoretical basis for unpacking such epistemic inequalities in ocean governance, and thus setting a foundation for critically reflecting on the context and knowledge within the chapters of this book.