Christian Bueger

Developing and Securing Africa’s seas: How the EU should support good ocean governance after the Lome summit

In the last decade, the strategic importance of the oceans has been quite fundamentally re-evaluated. Discussions on the blue economy have shown the substantial promises of ocean resources for economic development and growth, the importance of which was also emphasized in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But the oceans are also the source of significant insecurities. The thriving maritime security discourse has forcefully shown this. Scholars have observed the detrimental effects of problems such as piracy in East and West Africa, trafficking of people in the Mediterranean, fishery crimes or the trafficking of narcotics and other illicit goods. The dangers of the sea and the promises for economic prospect have gained particular attention on the African continent.

The African Union adopted in 2014 the African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 to provide joint direction and the basis for a cooperative approach to managing blue growth and maritime security on the continent. At a major African Union summit taking place this week in Lomé, Africa’s leaders will adopt a legally binding charter. In the charter, they commit themselves to make more efforts in tackling maritime crime, to share information and build the infrastructure for harvesting ocean resources sustainably.  Continue reading

Practice Workshop in Cardiff

practice-workshopOver the last decade, International Practice Theory has become a strong voice in the repertoire of International Relations theory. A significant number of scholars have engaged in developing a practice-based research and theory for international relations. Practice-driven research remains a very young, dynamic, and highly promising theoretical approach to the study of international relations. Indeed, the practice turn appears to be one of the most productive theoretical and empirical endeavors of IR scholarship in the present decade. Several scholars, each from a slightly different theoretical angle, have introduced practices as an ontological phenomenon and analytical framework into IR scholarship, and spelled out the spectrum and consequences of the practice turn for the field or developed distinct theories and frameworks. With so much theoretical and empirical work already in place it seems to be the right time to pause for a moment and clarify in which sense this community of scholars essentially shares a common agenda, which is broad enough to allow for disagreements and controversies, but which is also recognizable as a distinct type of IR scholarship. To date, no explicit collective discussion has taken shape about the contours that define the practice turn in IR scholarship as a distinct theoretical approach.

The purpose of a workshop, taking place in Cardiff on the 14th and 15th of October, was to do precisely that. Anchoring the discussion in concepts vital in the practice theoretical vocabulary (such as knowledge, power, or order), participants in the workshop explore the identity, borders, and future of International Practice Theory. Participants include Ted Hopf (Singapore), William Walters (Canada), Vincent Pouliot (Canada), Merje Kuus (Canada), Steven Bernstein (Canada), Anna Leander (Denmark), Rebecca Adler-Nissen (Denmark), Joelle duMouchel (Denmark), Frank Gadinger (Germany), Hilmar Schaefer (Germany), and Morten Andersen (Norway).

On the road to the AU’s maritime charter: Event in Addis

How will the Lome Charter that is going to be adopted at the African Union’s extraordinary summit in October this year will change ocean governance on the continent? This is the core question that we will be exploring at an event in Addis Ababa organized by the Institute for Security Studies. The event titled “From awareness to action: Africa’s blue economy after Lomé” takes place on September 29th. Please see further information here.  In my talk, I will emphasize the need of thinking the blue economy, ocean health, and maritime security agendas together and focussing on those activities that can benefit each agenda. Drawing on my current work on the relation between these agendas, I will argue that maritime domain awareness and information sharing, joint law enforcement operations, and education should be priority areas for the next years.  In these areas, significant synergies between all three agendas can be achieved. Knowing what happens at sea and ensuring the flow of information between all actors relevant is the necessary background for designing policies and projects to better protect the seas and develop them. Given the vastness of the sea and the resource limitations actors will have to learn how to work together in policing the sea. Education is pivotal for increasing the awareness of the vital importance of the sea for the future of the continent and training the practitioners which will be able to implement the agendas.

The Political Anthropology of Internationalized Politics

How can the dialogue between anthropology and International Relations (IR) turned into a productive research agenda? This is the core question explored at a workshop I am attending at the University of Bremen from 15th to 16th of September. In the meantime there is significant interest in IR the ethnographic spectrum of methods, and various scholars have proven the utility of ethnographic techniques across the disciplines sub-fields. This has been triggered in particular by the interest in the micro-dynamics of international politics, for “the everyday”, and the concept of practice as a unit of analysis. Anthropology, in turn, has shown over the past decades a substantial interest in questions traditionally pursued by IR scholars, such as the connections between the local and the global, the making of politics, or the distribution of power.

Bringing those lines of reasoning together, the workshop in particular zooms in on the international relations of Africa and the role of bureaucracies, development, and state building. The contributions make a powerful case for the productivity of methods characterized by immersion, “being there”, paying attention to details, and listening carefully. In my own contribution titled “Conducting ‘field research’ when there is no ‘field’. Some notes on the praxiographic challenge” I primarily discuss methodological questions and criticize the usefulness of some of the concepts that are part of the debate, in particular, the concept of a “field”. I argue, abandoning the notion of the field, provides us with the reflexive space for discucssing the practical problems of conducting research on practices of  international(ized) politics.

The Assemblage of EU mediation

CrWvCZnWYAA8VOpOn the 2nd of September I had the pleasure to be the external examiner of Natalie Brandenburg’s thesis at the Brussels School of International Affairs, University of Kent, supervised by Dr. Tom Casier. In the study Brandenburg shows how mediation is underpinned by a particular political rationality, and how the mediation assemblage is hierarchical structured. She drew on two cases, mediation in Myanmar and Georgia. The thesis is a thought provoking contribution to EU studies, peace and conflict studies, and a powerful example how practice theory can illuminate world political phenomena.

Call for Workshops for EWIS 2017 in Cardiff

small logo4th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS)

Cardiff, 07-10 June, 2017: New Frontiers in International Relations

Call for Workshop Proposals (Deadline 30.09.2016)
The European International Studies Association (EISA) invites proposals for workshops as part of EWIS 2017 to take place at Cardiff University, UK, 07-10 June 2017. The workshops allow scholars to engage in sustained, in-depth discussion with a diverse range of their peers from various institutions, countries, disciplines and career stages. EWIS has quickly proven to be a popular and productive format, proving ideal for the preparation of special issues, edited volumes or for pushing the boundaries of current research and exploring new ideas, themes and directions.

EWIS 2017 will be held at Cardiff University, a world-leading hub of expertise in International Relations. As well as an intellectually stimulating environment, the university is in walking distance from the city centre, which not only provides all the amenities one would expect of a dynamic capital city. Cardiff is also well connected for easy arrival and departure by train or plane, and offers a great base from which to explore the beauty of Wales.

With the EWIS 2017 theme ‘New Frontiers in International Relations’ we invite in particular workshops that aim at exploring the frontiers of the discipline of International Relations, by pushing its intellectual, theoretical and methodological boundaries, opening new agendas or revisiting established ones, and engaging in dialogues with cognate disciplines such as social theory, geography, cultural studies, economics, or sociology.

EWIS can accommodate up to 20 workshops with a maximum of 20 participants in each workshop. We are seeking proposals for workshops on specific themes within the broad field of International Studies from potential convenors who would organize and chair the workshops. We particularly encourage proposals that address the theme of Cardiff 2017 ‘New Frontiers in International Relations’. The proposals should include:

Workshop title
Description of workshop topic and its relevance (max 500 words)
An indication of possible paper topics and potential participants (1-2 pages)
A short CV of each workshop convenor (max 1 page each)
There can be up to two convenors of each workshop. Workshop convenors must be current EISA members. They will pay a reduced participation fee and they will be invited to the workshop convenors’ dinner. They will, however, have to make and pay for their own travel and hotel arrangements.

Schedule: The deadline is 30 September 2016. Successful proposals will be notified by 21 October 2016. There will then be an open call for papers which will run until 16 December 2016. The papers will then be selected by 13 January 2017. Registration will be open until 03 March 2017.

Submission & Inquiries: All proposals should be submitted as pdf attachments to Dr Christian Bueger (for Cardiff University) and Dr Benjamin Tallis (for the EISA) and copied (cc) to

Please contact for general enquiries about EWIS2017.

European Workshop in International Studies to be hosted in Cardiff

small logoThe Department of International Relations of Cardiff University and the European International Studies Association are proud to announce that the European Workshops in International Studies will be hosted in the capital of Wales from June 7 to 10, 2017.
The workshops provide scholars with a unique opportunity to work closely with international scholars on a particular topic over the course of three days. This format has been tried and tested, proving ideal for preparing Special Issues, edited volumes or for exploring new ideas and themes.
The theme of EWIS 2017 will be “New Frontiers in International Relations” inviting in particular scholars to re-think the boundaries of international relations scholarship and pushing these further. A full call inviting proposals for workshops held as part of EWIS, will be issued in August with decisions on the selected workshops to be announced in September.
Cardiff University, the host of EWIS 2017 is a world-leading hub of expertise in International Relations, providing an intellectually stimulating environment for the workshop series. The university is situated within walking distance from the city centre, which provides all cultural and social amenities one might expect from a capital city. Cardiff itself is the gateway to the beauty of Wales, its hills and its beaches. It is well connected to airports and train services, allowing participants a hassle-free arrival.

Telling and Acting: A provocative new study of the EU’s external action

tartuOn the 15th of July I will have the pleasure to act as opponent in a defense at the University of Tartu. I will discuss Birgit Poopuu’s thesis titled “Acting is everything: The European Union and the process of becoming a peacebuilder”. The thesis develops an innovative framework combining insights from post-structuralism and practice theory to study a range of recent CSDP missions. Poopuu argues that the external actions of the EU should be understood as means of telling and acting out a particular identity of Europe.


New edition of Handbook of Security Studies published

HandbookThe 2nd edition of the Routledge Handbook of Security Studies has just been published. The 41 chapters give an overview of the stat of the art of Security Studies, discuss theoretical approaches, as well as distinct security challenges. In my contribution to the handbook, titled “Security as Practice”, I introduce and discuss how practice theories have been developed within the sub-discipline. I pay particular attention to theories developed from Bourdieu’s work, the security communities of practice approach, as well as relationalist and actor-network theory inspired work. The pre-print of the chapter is available via my academia page.