Christian Bueger


Term starts in Copenhagen

This week the autumn term starts at the University of Copenhagen. Over the next 14 weeks I will be teaching two courses, both at masters level, with 170 students in total.

The course Concepts and Methods of International Relations is a mandatory post-graduate level survey of the discipline of IR from the perspective of key concepts that have driven the debates. The course starts out from foundational discussion of concepts of knowledge, theory, concept, critique and methods. This creates the basis for investigating a set of influential concepts in the discipline, including structure, modernity, rationality, norms, culture, discourse, practice, space, technology, Anthropocene, and queer. The course concludes with a discussion of what to do with these concepts.

The second course “Knowledge Production and Evaluation” is a core subject in the Security and Risk Management master programme. It is broadly structured around literature from social theory, anthrpology and science and technology studies interested in how knowledge is produced in practice and how it is linked to politics and decision making. The course revisits core frameworks, such as epistemic communities, and actor-network theory and then a share framework for the study of epistemic practices is developed and tested through exercises.


Short article on maritime security capacity building

What are the challenges in governing maritime security? How can the capacity gap closed through capacity building projects? What guidelines can make such work more effective? These are the questions that I address in a new short article published in the Seychelles Research Journal. I discuss the key insight developed in our last research project which were published as a best practice tool kit titled “Mastering Maritime Security”.


Maritime Security training Course in U.S.

From the 21st to 27th of July I attended a training course on Civil-Military Approaches for Maritime Security organised by the Institute for Security Governance, in Monterey, CA. The course is part of the US capacity building work on maritime security and taught since 2008. As part of the course I delivered a module on maritime domain awareness, relying on my 2015 article on Maritime Domain Awareness in Southeast Asia as well as the results of the SafeSeas Best Practice Toolkit and the model of maritime security governance it outlines. I also reviewed the core ideas behind Maritime Domain Awareness, and discussed with the participants the core hindrances to information sharing.


Workshop on Fritz Kratochwil’s Praxis

On the 12th and 13th of July I attended a workshop in Frankfurt which had the objective to explore the different contributions the recent book by Fritz Kratochwil makes to different social science debate. In Praxis: On Acting and Knowing, published in 2018, Kratochwil presents a new reading of political practices based on a discussion of Aristotle, Hume and Wittgenstein. The book explores different kinds of international practices drawing on a wide set of examples drawing mainly from international law.

Participants explored different aspects of the book and how it is linked to questions of international systems and differentiation, temporality, history and change, and in what ways it offers a new way of theorizing. In my own contribution I investigated what style of theorizing the book offers, pointing to its practice of building associations. I also asked what the methodological consequences of such an understanding of theorizing are.


Talk on Expertise and Policy Advice in Frankfurt

What are the consequence of a relational understanding of knowledge for how we organize expertise and policy advice? This was the core question of the talk that I gave at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt on the 11th of July. Drawing on Steve Woolgar’s critique of romantic understandings of knowledge transfer, I outlined the theory of epistemic infrastructures and how a focus on epistemic practices and problematic situations provides new directions for scholarly action.


Maritime Ideaslab in Copenhagen

As part of an ongoing collaboration between the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen, I organised together with the Center for Global Criminology an ideaslab on maritime security on the 27th of June. Titled “Insecurity, Crime and Cooperation at Sea”: New Perspectives on Maritime Security” the goal of the day was to explore different ideas from international relations, security studies, and anthropology of how our thinking changes if we initiate inquiry from the sea and not the land.

The day provided an opportunity to exchange views on why and how the maritime is a site and a view point from which to explore the social and political differently. In the background was the observation that the majority of social science disciplines have focused on the land and rather ignored the sea. What has been called “sea blindness”, however, is gradually changing. Increasingly the sea is not taken as an empty void, but understood as a rich space filled with meaning, actions and life. Emerging research challenges the land/sea dichotomy and is interested in connectivity, flows and chokepoints, piracy and other forms of maritime crime, or ports and maritime infrastructures. The six presentations of the day picked up these themes respectively.

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Presentation on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific

What are the costs and benefits of thinking in terms of an Indo-Pacific region? Why do certain actors advocate to strategize in those terms? On June the 3rd and 4th I had the pleasure to attend a conference in Paris that discussed these questions. The conference was organised jointly by IRSEM, Science Po, the University of Cambridge and GIGA.

My own presentation was titled “More than a sum of its parts? Networked maritime security and the fabrication of the Indo-Pacific”. In the presentation I drew attention to the scalar politics of the Indo-Pacific pointing in particular to the political effects the fabrication of the Indo-Pacific region has in terms of how it limits agency to states with blue water naval capacities, and how it undermines regional cooperation. Contact me if you are interested in the full presentation.


Contact Group on Piracy meeting in Copenhagen

On May 28th we had the pleasure to co-host a strategy meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in Copenhagen. Held in association with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Shipping and the Indian Ocean Commission the main objective of the meeting was to discuss the future strategy of the group. The discussion was based on a report that I have written together with Jessica Larsen from the Danish Institute of International Studies.

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The IFC at ten: Attending the MARISX Information Sharing Exercise in Singapore

Singapore is host to one of the most successful initiatives for sharing information and developing maritime domain awareness on a regional level. The Information Fusion Centre (known as IFC) operated by the Singaporean navy has become a global template for how to improve the flow of maritime information, conduct solid analysis of activities and trends at sea, but also to react rapidly to any maritime incident across borders and jurisdictions.

On the 14th of May the IFC celebrated its 10th anniversary. At the celebration it also launched the new information sharing platform of the centre. The celebration was part of the annual exercise MARISX.

I had the opportunity to attend the event as an observer. Following my earlier visits to the IFC in 2018 and 2015 (see my article on the IFC here), I could for the first time see the exercise in action. MARISX brought together participants from ASEAN navies and coastguards, and various international partners, including Australia, China, Germany, India, Seychelles, the UK or the US. For three days participants had the opportunity to try out the brand new IFC Real-time Information-sharing System (IRIS) to address real life scenarios, such as illegal fishing, illegal migration or piracy incidents. The participants also discussed how such incidents can be better managed jointly using the platform. A number of national operational centers (OPCENs) from different countries participated remotely in the exercise. Also representatives from the shipping industry, including the Singapore Shipping Association or Intertanko, as well as international organisations such as Interpol and UNODC contributed to the event.

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High Level Meeting of the Djibouti Code of Conduct

The Djibouti Code of Conduct remains one of the major agreements in the Western Indian Ocean to strengthen regional cooperation in maritime security bringing countries from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula together. Initially only focused on piracy, the Code’s focus area was extended through the 2017 Jeddah Amendments to cover all types of maritime crimes. From the 23rd to 25th of April representatives from the signatory states and the Friends of the Djibouti Code of Conduct met in Saudi Arabia to review the current progress and discuss priorities in implementation. At the event I chaired a panel on the nature of maritime crimes, and gave two short presentations.