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International Law's Objects$
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Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798200.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 April 2021

Manganese Nodules

Manganese Nodules

(p.272) 17 Manganese Nodules
International Law's Objects

Surabhi Ranganathan

Oxford University Press

This chapter chooses as its object a curious mineral formation found on the deep seabed: manganese nodules. Resembling piles of ‘dirty potatoes’—according to the report of the nineteenth-century Challenger expedition—manganese nodules were rediscovered in the mid-twentieth. Corporations and industrially advanced states viewed these nodules, containing concentrations of key metals, as a promising substitute for the land-based natural resources that decolonization had threatened to place in precarious supply for some time. For developing states, the nodules became part of the quest for a new international economic order; they appeared a conduit for economic redistribution, technological innovation, and political equality between states. The chapter examines how the nodules and their co-option into various political and economic agendas shaped both the development of the law of the sea, and the privileging of an extractive imaginary of the ocean floor above alternative visions.

Keywords:   law of the sea, natural resources, deep seabed, new international economic order, manganese nodules, decolonization, ocean imaginaries

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