Christian Bueger

Paper on practice turn in IR now in print.

coverWhat are the promises of practice theory for the study of global politics? The paper titled “The play of international practices” co-authored with Frank Gadinger explores this question. It is now out in International Studies Quarterly 59(3). It is available as open access here. This is the abstract:

The core claims of the practice turn in International Relations (IR) remain ambiguous. What promises does international practice theory hold for the field? How does the kind of theorizing it produces differ from existing perspectives? What kind of research agenda does it produce? This article addresses these questions. Drawing on the work of Andreas Reckwitz, we show that practice approaches entail a distinctive view on the drivers of social relations. Practice theories argue against individualistic-interest and norm-based actor models. They situate knowledge in practice rather than “mental frames” or “discourse.” Practice approaches focus on how groups perform their practical activities in world politics to renew and reproduce social order. They therefore overcome familiar dualisms—agents and structures, subjects and objects, and ideational and material—that plague IR theory. Practice theories are a heterogeneous family, but, as we argue, share a range of core commitments. Realizing the promise of the practice turn requires considering the full spectrum of its approaches. However, the field primarily draws on trajectories in international practice theory that emphasize reproduction and hierarchies. It should pay greater attention to practice approaches rooted in pragmatism and that emphasize contingency and change. We conclude with an outline of core challenges that the future agenda of international practice theory must tackle.

New book chapter on ANT available as pre-print

Our introductory text to Actor-Network Theory is available as pre-print. The chapter titled “Actor-Network Theory. Objects and Actants, Narratives and Networks” is authored jointly with Jan Stockbruegger. It is forthcoming in “Technology and World Politics: An Introduction”, edited by Daniel R. McCarthy (Abingdon: Routledge) which is a textbook for advanced graduate students. In the chapter we provide a succinct introduction to Actor Network Theory (ANT) and how it has been discussed in International Relations. Arguing that ANT offers “empirical theory” we review a range of classical ANT studies and discuss what concepts they develop. We continue in exploring what one can “do” with ANT to study international relations and global politics. The chapter is available through my Academia page, and can be accessed here.

APSA Meeting in San Francisco

apsaFrom the 2nd to the 6th of September I will be attending the annual conference of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco. I will be a participant on two panels. I will be discussing fieldwork methods in the frame of “The Methods Cafe” (Thu, September 3, 12:15 to 1:45pm, Nikko, Ballroom II) as well as presenting on a roundtable “Author Meets Critics: “A Theory of Contestation” by Antje Wiener” (Sun, September 6, 8:00 to 9:45am, Parc 55, Fillmore).

Pirates @ PublicUni, Cardiff, Chapter

As part of the 6th PublicUni event, 6th of August, at the Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, I will discuss my research on pirates. The idea of PublicUni is to present ongoing research short and crisp in an accessible manner (more info here). In my talk I address the question ‘Whatever happened to the Somalia pirates?’ Since Captain Phillips hit the movie theatres two years ago, it has become remarkably quiet about the pirates of Somalia. I hence will explains the rise and fall of piracy. For the other speakers at the event see the program here. A very short summary of the event is available here.

Meeting with Chief of Staff to President of Somalia

On the 24th of July I had the pleasure to meet Ali Omar, Chief off Staff to the President of Somalia, during his visit to the University of Bristol. Over lunch with some colleagues we discussed the importance of maritime security for Somalia. Naturally the governance of its territorial waters is not the number one priority of the government given the vast security and governmental challenges that exist. However, the maritime is a significant opportunity for the government not only to generate revenue, but also to strengthen its profile in multi-lateral settings.

Science Diplomacy Writeshop @ Oxford

The concept of “science diplomacy” has become an increasingly fashionable way of discussing both the role of science and technology within global governance as well as how science itself constitutes a field of diplomacy. At a one and a half day workshop at Exeter College, from 12.-13.7., we are meeting to discuss the concept and how it can be used as a starting point for an innovative agenda. The goal is to identify mechanisms as well as cases representative of the science/diplomacy interaction. The event is part of the new science diplomacy project of the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) of the University College London.

Summary of 18th CGPCS Plenary

PictureLast week I attended the plenary of the CGPCS at the UN headquarters. I published summaries of the main discussions of the working group meetings and the plenary on the website of the CGPCS. Find them published here. For the first time the plenary has also been recorded and is available on UN web tv (part 1, part 2). During the plenary I gave an update on the Lessons Learned Project and also presented our forthcoming article on the future of the maritime security architecture in the Western Indian Ocean.

In the field: plenary of CGPCS

Over the next week I am attending the plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). The group is the main global governance mechanism to steer and coordinate the global fight against Somali piracy (FAQ). The group is the major case study of my ESRC project “Counter-Piracy Governance” and I am working for the group in a lessons learned project. Since I attended my first plenary meeting in 2013, the group has been quite radically transformed in the face of the decline of piracy in the region. Not only is there growing uncertainty about the purpose of the group, but it is unclear what efforts of capacity building and ongoing patrols will be needed to sustain the current containment. The program of the plenary reflects this, in that only two of the working groups are meeting. Both the working group on capacity building and operations will focus on discussing the results of technical subgroups. They will meet a day prior to the plenary on Wednesday. On Thursday there will be an offside event focused on the African Maritime Security Architecture.

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Expanding IR @ Cardiff University

cardiffGood news from my Department. We are growing and extending research and teaching in International Relations considerably. In addition to two new staff members that will join us in September, a number of posts in International Relations on all levels (Junior Lecturer, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor) is currently advertised. The call is broad, since the goal is to build a multifaceted department which covers the entire spectrum of the discipline. In a year the Department will look differently. This is the advertisement of the posts:

Major Expansion of International Relations at Cardiff University

Following the 2014 merger of the Department of Politics and International Relations with Cardiff Law School, the Cardiff School of Law and Politics is now making a significant investment in International Relations, already an area of growing strength in such fields as international political sociology and normative international theory. A range of appointments at different levels, reflecting the growing importance of this vibrant field, will make International Relations a major focus for the School. Politics and International Relations at Cardiff has long-standing and distinctive strengths in European politics, Welsh politics and comparative devolution and normative political theory.

The following positions are available:
Chairs / Readers in International Relations (3520BR)
Senior Lectureships / Lectureships / in International Relations (3523BR)
Early Career Lectureships (3531BR)

We welcome applications from scholars across all subfields of International Relations, which include IR theory and empirical and/or historical work. We are particularly interested in applicants who combine theory with methodologically sophisticated empirical or historical analysis and/or those with a regional focus such as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

For further details and to apply please visit: and
Interested applicants are invited to contact Jan Donovan, PA to Professor Dan Wincott (Head of School), on, to arrange an informal discussion


BISA conference in London

BISAFrom the 17th to the 19th I attended the 40th conference of the British International Studies Association. With 700 participants it was the largest BISA conference so far. And with a location right next to Tower Bridge perhaps the one with the nicest view from the conference facilities. At the conference I presented at two roundtables which focused on the state of Security Studies and the rationale of the new European Journal of International Security (find a summary of the roundtables at the EJIS website here). In addition I also participated in a roundtable on Methods and Critique. Overall it was good to see a thriving British IR community in action. The discussion on methods and methodology continues to be one of the major themes the discipline is currently discussing, which is a move into the direction. What kind of social science IR and its many subcommunities wants to be is after all crucial a question of how it wants to combine theory and empirics and what types of empirical experiences enrich the formulation of theory and concepts.