“Politics on a Human Scale: Approaches to Practice in Policy, Politics and IR” was the title of a workshop jointly organized between the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Security Research, its Academy of Government and Cardiff University’s Department of Politics and International Relations. The workshop, held on the 6th of May, focussed on ongoing research projects which aim at zooming in on activities and practices of politics. The workshop discussions centred around different approaches to practice in our research with a view to rethink the theory-methods package in studies of practice. What are the implications of drawing on certain concepts for methodology and research practices? How do we relate research practices to attempts of generalising and abstracting? The workshop was a very productive environment to address these questions. From Cardiff, Alena Drieschova, Hannah Hughes and myself participated in the event.
I gave talk on my ongoing counter-piracy governance project, particularly developing the methodological reasoning. I discussed what we might learn from alchemism and their interest in the occult and experimentation. Arguing that alchemism revolves around three core concepts – expertise, experiment, experience – I outlined how these can organize a research process and our thinking about it.
Given the shared research interest of both universities in the field of practice research, but also areas of research such as devolution, we intend to institutionalize Cardiff-Edinburgh research meetings in the future.