Social Dynamics in Coastal and Marine Areas

About us

The research group

The research group “Social Dynamics in Coastal and Marine Areas” deals with human-environment relations in the Anthropocene. We use political ecology, critical social theory and postcolonial approaches to investigate topics such as the consequences of climate change, resource conflicts, maritime border regimes, and innovative and emancipatory strategies for environmental migrants. We work closely with colleagues from the humanities, natural and life sciences and civil society seeking to support societal transformation.

What is Marine Social Science?

Marine Social Science is an up-coming research field that focuses on human-ocean relations, conflicts and social processes related to the coast and the sea.

Which questions does the research group deal with?

We are mainly concerned with the political ecology of the current environmental crisis. Central questions of our work are the rationales and politics of marine naturecultures.

An example from coastal protection:

  •  What does sustainable coastal protection mean to different actors?
  •  Who has the right to be consulted in these decisions and why?
  •  What are the possible consequences for environmental justice?


We seek to bridge the epistemological divide between natural sciences and social sciences e.g. through promoting the perspective of environmental justice through our transdisciplinary network EnJust.

 Research questions are e.g.:

  •  How can we integrate cultural and social diversity into different forms of climate change adaptation?
  •  What implication have climate politics and coastal protection for environmental justice?

In addition, the research group investigates the use of and access to land and natural resources in the Global South.

Where do we work?

Our research topics are mainly investigated in Oceania (Kiribati and Fiji), the Mediterranean region (Italy), Indonesia and Northern Germany.