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Coalitions, learning and negotiation in the formation of new marine protection areas

Published: 7 October 2020

Understanding disputed policy change: coalitions, learning and negotiation in the formation of new marine protection areas
Researchers: Prof. Annica Sandström (Political Science, LTU)
Finacier: Formas,

Why are conflicts over marine protected areas overcome in some places but not in others? The purpose of this project is to explore and explain policy change, which is manifested by decisions to form new national parks, in the context of marine conservation. The project draws on theories emphasizing the role of policy coalitions and examines to what extent the establishment of new national parks can be explained by i) changing power resources among competing coalitions, ii) by

learning, i.e. changing beliefs within coalitions, and iii) by the mediatory role of key individuals. The project uses a comparative and longitudinal case study approach analyzing implementation processes in three coastal areas in Sweden over thirty years.

The empirical findings will contribute significantly to understanding the theoretical puzzle of policy change, to identifying opposing coalitions in contemporary marine conservation, and to generating applicable insights on how to put the ambitious policy goals of increased marine protection into practice locally. This is critical both for reaching national environmental policy objectives and for fulfilling international obligations.


Sandström, A., Morf, A. & Fjellborg, D. (2020). Disputed Policy Change: The Role of Events, Policy Learning, and Negotiated Agreements. Policy Studies Journal

Nilsson, J., Sandström, A. & Nohrstedt, D. (2020). Beliefs, social identity, and the view of opponents in Swedish carnivore management policy. Policy sciences, 53(3), 453-472

Morf, A., Sandström, A. & Jagers, S. (2017). Balancing sustainability in two pioneering marine national parks in Scandinavia. Ocean and Coastal Management, 139, 51-63

Annica Sandström

Annica Sandström, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491356
Organisation: Political Science, Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts