Ocean governance and the aporias of 'accounting' and 'accountability'

Bernadette Snow, David Anthony Pittaway, Andrea Hurst, Joanna Botha

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Abstract

The Ocean Accounts Framework (OAF) developed by The Global Ocean
Accounts Partnership for Sustainable Development, following a ‘blue
economy model’, includes social and ecological value in its framework of
accounts. It is hoped that this novel mode of accounting will improve ocean
governance, which should contribute optimally (with the greatest possible
justice) to ethical accountability, understood as sustainable human
engagement with the ocean. As a work in progress, the OAF drafters
acknowledge that more needs to be done to enhance its principles and
particularly its social accounts. In this paper we aim for a philosophical
critique of this laudable aim in the Kantian sense of an appraisal of its limits.
Drawing primarily from Jacques Derrida’s conception of aporias in his essay
‘Force of Law’ we argue that the limits (restrictions and ‘chances’) of the
OAF are due to the aporetic complexity of key, interrelated fundamental
commitments to: ‘production and resources’, ‘inclusivity’, ‘optimal and just
governance’, and ‘sustainable development’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-166
Number of pages28
JournalAlternation
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • ocean governance
  • ocean accounts frameworks
  • complexity
  • aporia
  • ethical accountability
  • inclusivity
  • sustainable development

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