The water is not empty: Cross-cultural issues in conceptualising sea space

S. E. Jackson*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper provides an analysis of the neglect and marginalisation of indigenous peoples’ sea rights. It aims to explain how a complex and ecologically appropriate alternative law of the sea has largely escaped research interests and, until recently, has not been recognised by western systems of law and resource and environmental management. It is argued that the dominance of western views and concepts of nature and landscape predicated on western knowledge and values marginalises indigenous concepts of nature and undermines effective indigenous control of social space. Cultural differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ways of constructing meaning in the sea provide the vantage point from which to explore the relations between differences in cultural values, property rights, and political and economic control over marine and coastal environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-96
    Number of pages10
    JournalAustralian Geographer
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1995


    • Aboriginal marine management
    • coastal zone management
    • cultural geography
    • indigenous peoples
    • landscape
    • Sea rights


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