A critique of the participation norm in marine governance: Bringing legitimacy into the frame

Maree Fudge*, Karen Alexander, Emily Ogier, Peat Leith, Marcus Haward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Citizen and stakeholder participation is held to bolster the democratic legitimacy of. marine governance by building trust in the decision-making system through inclusion.However, a growing body of literature points to increasing disillusionment and.exclusion, and thus decreased legitimacy. In this study we apply a ‘legitimacy lens’ to.examine a dominant conceptualisation of participation in marine governance. We.argue that the social-ecological systems paradigm (SES) exerts a substantial.intellectual influence within marine governance. We identify that an ontological.underpinning of the conceptualisation of participation within this paradigm results in the.absence of a coherent articulation of democratic legitimacy in marine governance.scholarship. We suggest that the development of a more nuanced and overt account of.democratic legitimacy is necessary to strengthening the application of SES-informed.marine

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Governance
  • Marine
  • Participation
  • Participation norm
  • Political representation
  • Social-ecological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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