Christian Bueger


The World Ocean Summit

This week I am attending the Economist’s World Ocean Summit. It’s applaudable that the event this year is open and free. Summits such as these are increasingly important in ocean governance.

Judged by the agenda we are looking at a blend of deep crisis rhetoric and what Evgeny Morozov nicely coined as “solutionism”: The idea that the internet, big data, surveillance and innovative financing will fix the ocean’s problems. While some high level politicians will give grand speeches at the event, the tone is, that private solutions are required. It is foundation money and start ups that are meant to address the problems featured: fishing, plastic and zero emissions.

Yet, what is the role of the state in all of this? Law, law enforcement, blue crime and maritime security do not feature in the debate. Ocean governance will only work, if industry, foundations and the state work hand in hand. Wasn’t that one of the lessons of the pandemic after all?


Podcast on practices and pragmatic ordering

What does it imply to study international practices? How do international orders change? How can practice theory and pragmatist philosophy translated into models useful for empirical research? These are some of the questions that we explore in an edition of the Practice Theory podcast available here.

The discussion with the hosts Elizabeth Shove and Stanley Blue takes as starting point the recently published article “Pragmatic ordering: Informality, experimentation, and the maritime security agenda”. Co-authored with Tim Edmunds the article was recently published as online first with Review of International Studies. Contact me to receive a copy.


Talk at Ocean Seminar Series

On the 24th of February I am giving a talk on Maritime Domain Awareness and its effects at the MARIPOLDATA Ocean Seminar Series organized by the University of Vienna.

The speaker series is organized by the ERC funded research project MARIPOLDATA that studies the power and influence of marine biodiversity data on ocean governance.

My talk draws on my recent book chapter that summarized the historical development of a global network of MDA centers. I theorize these developments through the conceptual framework of “epistemic infrastructures” that I developed in a 2015 article. The framework invites to study the practices through which MDA is designed, maintained and repaired. Contact me to receive the draft paper.


Upcoming workshop on international practice research

What are the current gaps and trends in international practice research? This is the core question that we will investigate at an upcoming online workshop on February 18th and 19th.

Co-organized by the EISA Section on International Practices, the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, and the Center for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, we will discuss in two afternoons the state of practice research, future themes, as well as a set of ongoing projects from new voices in the debate. Davide Nicolini will provide the keynote address titled “Revisiting the Relationship between Practice and (Academic) Theory from a Praxeological Perspective”.

Find the detailed program and registration link here.


Maritime Security course at University of Copenhagen

With the term starting in Denmark, I will be teaching a new edition of my course in maritime security. The course is open for master students in the political science and security and risk master programmes.

The course has two main goals. Firstly to introduce students to security problems at sea, why they matter, and how they are currently addressed. Together we review the state of the art of maritime security, the issues, and actors.

Secondly, participants engage in their own small research on project on maritime security. Our goal is to push the debate forward together. This year participants will join task forces, that work on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, maritime security governance in Denmark, submarine data cable protection and oil spill prevention.

Contact me directly if you are interested in the syllabus.


New article presents a model for changes in governance

In a new article authored with Tim Edmunds (University of Bristol), we develop a novel model to study change in international orders. We show the value of the model of pragmatic ordering by studying transformations in ocean governance. The article is available as a first view with Review of International Studies. Contact me to receive a free copy.

We advance pragmatist and practice-theoretical assumptions that invite us to emphasize ordering processes, everyday and informal activities, as well as experimental forms of governance. On this basis we develop a five-stage model of change:

Model of Pragmatic Ordering

The model integrates philosophical ideas with recent evidence from global governance research on the rise of informality and experimentalism. We then use this model to study the oceans, first zooming in on the changes induced by the arrival of maritime security and then second on the developments in the Western Indian Ocean.

As we show the oceans are not facing an emerging state of anarchy or disorder but are subject to a substantial re-ordering process. The model of pragmatic ordering is highly valuable to investigate the consequences of other recently recognized problems, such as extremism, climate change or cyber security.


Presentation at major meeting on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

This week the most important informal governance forum addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea, is holding its meeting. A recording of the event is available here.

Upon invitation of the current chair, the US Department of State, I am giving a joint presentation with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We were invited to speak about how academic research might inform counter-piracy efforts.

The background is our research project AMARIS which is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. AMARIS analyses maritime insecurity in Ghana, and aims at informing policy by studying a paradigmatic case in the region. Our questions are: What can be learned from Ghana for the region? How can maritime security governance be reformed and what is the role of international assistance?

In the presentation I argue that academics can inform responses, on three levels:

  1. Providing a better understanding of what the problem of piracy actually is by contextualising it, comparing it, and offering insights on structures, change and root causes.
  2. By analysing what works and what doesn’t and laying out new alternative actions not previously considered.
  3. In being directly part of the response, through awareness raising measures, science diplomacy or training and education activities.

With the presentation I hope to address some of the misunderstandings in terms of what academics can do and what not, but also ensure a more productive dialogue.

Contact me, if you are interested in a copy of the presentation or want to watch the video.


Submarine cables and the politics of infrastructure

Drawing on our recent work on the governance of submarine data cables, Tobias Liebetrau and I presented some first findings concerning the politics of this infrastructure at an event on the 27th of November.

The Conference, organized by the Munich Center for Technology in Society had the theme of “Logistical Power. Infrastructure and State Formation Beyond the Nation State”.

In our presentation we paid particular attention to the question of when and how infrastructures, such as the submarine data cable network, become visible and invisible.


Discussion on Blue Criminology

Why do we need blue criminology and what are its objectives? That was the key question we discussed at an event hosted by the University of Plymouth’s Center for Blue Governance.

Held on November 25th, Tim Edmunds and I presented our understanding of the concept of blue crime, based on a recently published paper. The concept of blue crime is an invitation to think across disciplines how organised crime plays out at sea. It also has the objective to investigate how different responses interrelate and what could be done about the fragmentation of the response.


Presentation at IFC Maritime Security Event

The Information Fusion Centre (IFC) based in Singapore is one of the most important international hubs for sharing information on the maritime domain. It enhances the global understanding what issues at sea need attention.

One element of this work are frequent events for maritime stakeholders and an interested public. On the 25th of November I had the pleasure to contribute to the 2020 Maritime Security Webinar.

At the seminar I provided an overview of maritime information sharing initiatives and discussed the numerous challenges these face drawing on my recent article on the subject.