Document Type : Original Article


Imam Khomeini Maritime Sciences University, Mazandaran, Iran


Today, there is a need for a new approach toward the sea and sea-based sustainable development. Alfred Mahan, by presenting the theory of Sea Power, made the politicians pay special attention to the sea and navigation. To present the theory of Maritime Civilization, a theory building framework was used. The framework includes three steps, from the Descriptive stage (Observation, Categorization, and Association), to the Normative stage, based on the theoretical basis of the research. The present study, while confirming the positive points of the Alfred Mahan''s Sea Power theory, criticized the nature of thoughts behind the theory. By extracting the necessary terms from literature and research background confirming the positive and negative points of the Sea Power theory and by considering the framework of theory building in Management Science research, a theory called "Maritime Civilization" was presented instead of the Sea Power theory. The results of the study indicated that Sea Power theory has good positive points, however, Alfred Mahan''s approach to the sea is an authoritarian and domineering perspective that, firstly, contradicts values and ethics; secondly, the present discussions about sustainable development and the Green Environment criticize the Sea Power theory. Thus, the theory of Maritime Civilization is presented, according to which the maritime civilization is a civilization in which the intellectual, scientific, industrial, social, economic and political movements are created in conjunction with the sea and the marine environment. Using a set of capacities and resources, this civilization seeks to enjoy a sustainable sea exploitation in order to turn the human and the marine community into a peaceful community. This is a preliminary theory, and for assessing its validity, the views of five experts from the Marine Science universities were used, which necessitates further investigation by other researchers in the future