Christian Bueger

What are the root causes of maritime piracy? A SafeSeas Webinar

What the root causes of maritime piracy are and how they can be addressed through external assistance remains one of the most pertinent questions of maritime security policy. This was the core problem that we addressed in a recent SafeSeas webinar.

The event centered around the recently published book “Piratelands. Governance and Maritime Piracy” by Ursula Daxecker and Brandon Prins (Oxford University Press). In addition to the authors, four commentators contributed to the debate: Stig Jarle Hansen, Anja Shortland, Jessica Larsen, and myself.

In my contribution, I stressed the importance of thinking local and paying more attention to the sub-national level of root causes, the need to better understand the inter-linkages of blue crimes, as well as working towards predictive models that can tell us what to do now to prevent the rise of the pirates of tomorrow.

A video recording of the event is available on the SafeSeas Youtube Channel. Follow the channel for future events.

Climate Change & Cables: Presentation at UK Maritime Threat Group

On the 22nd of April I had the pleasure to give a presentation together with Tim Edmunds at the UK Maritime Threat Group. In the presentation we introduced the work and main findings of SafeSeas. In my part of the presentation I particularly flagged questions of the impact of climate change on maritime security as well as the importance of submarine data cables drawing on our recently published article.

A summary and discussion of the presentation is available on the SafeSeas website.

Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA)

From the 6th to the 9th of April I am attending the annual conference of the ISA. The conference which continues to be the main meeting place for scholars in International Relations is fully virtual this year. I am giving short presentations at three different roundtables which concern key themes that I am concerned about theoretically at the moment.

The first roundtable, organised by Simon Pratt from the (U Bristol) and Rebecca Adler-NIssen (U Copenhagen) discusses how we can better study implicit and tacit knowledge and how the concept of “folk theory” might be useful to do so.

The second roundtable is a discussion on the potential of international political design. Design is here understood as redirecting social science towards the making of a diverse range of objects, and going beyond written text. Given my interests in working with practitioners, co-production, the design discourse provides interesting new directions. The roundtable is organized by Jon Austin and Anna Leander (Graduate Institute, Geneva).

The third roundtable that Filippo Costa Brunelli (St Andrews) and I have organized concerns the informalization of world politics. Scholars from different corners of International Relations will reflect on their work on informality, when and how global governors and statesmen turn to informal forums, such as the G groups, or world conferences, and what the consequences of this shift is. At the roundtable I will talk about my long term research with the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which is a paradigmatic case of a contemporary informal governance mechanism.

New article on the security of submarine data cables

More then 90 per cent of the worlds communication travels through the global submarine data cable network. Although this is a vital infrastructure we know relatively little about how the network works, how cables are protected and what forms of global politics they are part of. In a new article co-authored with Tobias Liebetrau forthcoming with the journal Contemporary Security Policy, we explore the current state of research and what political questions the network raises, ranging from hybrid threats and accidents to global governance, geopolitical contestation and digital sovereignty.

The article titled “Protecting hidden infrastructure: The security politics of the global submarine data cable network” is available as a pre-print on Academia. The published version is available here.

The limits of capacity building

At a recent event I have presented and discussed the main insights from our research on capacity building for maritime security drawing on our recently published book on the Western Indian Ocean, but also the ongoing work in the AMARIS project on maritime security in Ghana.

The presentation was in the frame of the Marlog Titbits lunch seminars on maritime governance. Watch the recordings on You Tube.

A summary of the key arguments presented was also published with Lloyds List, which can be accessed here.

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.