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Ulrike Kronfeld-Goharani

Kiel University (CAU)
Institute of Social Sciences


Since its classical definition provided by the Brundtland Commission in 1987, the term ‘sustainability’ has become the worldwide dominating leitmotif for shaping international environmental and developmental relations. Notwithstanding these efforts, there is still no common definition of the term and it often remains unclear what sustainability actually means for example in international environmental law.
Applying the Critical Discourse Analyses and a lexicometric method the research project investigates the meaning of the term sustainability that is used as an empty signifier in political discourse. The aim is to develop practical proposals how ‘sustainability’ can be conceptionalized for the high seas and what the implications are for responsible political decision-making processes. Apart from the generation of new scientific knowledge policy recommendations shall be developed on how unsustainable marine practices can be more effectively combatted and how a greater public awareness for ocean matters can be aroused.


Tel.: +49 431 880-6332

Research activities

The sustainability approach on the high seas