Christian Bueger

First Maritime Security Summer School great success

The Olympia Summer Academy provided the framework for the first summer school in maritime security (18-22.7.2014). The summer school organized by Cardiff University and brought together 12 students from across the world to discuss different aspects of maritime security and the future challenges for research. The summer school was taught by two academics (Dr. Christian Bueger, Cardiff University and Prof. Harry Papasotiriou, Pantheon University Athens) and one practitioner (Capt. Hartmut Hesse, former IMO special representative). The sessions focused on the concept of maritime security, theoretical perspectives on maritime security, naval strategy, the law of the sea, the work of the International Maritime Organization, an in-depth analysis of maritime piracy, and the challenges of maritime capacity building. The discussion revealed the many gaps in research and analysis that the young field of maritime security studies has still to fill. Especially the role of civil actors, capacity building, and new approaches to managing the complexity of maritime security requires  more academic attention. The new generation of scholars in the field will play a vital role in this.


Article on the Methodology of Practice Theory published

What are the methodological consequences of the practice turn? In my article just published with European Political Science Review, I explore the challenges that studying practices pose and which research strategies and methods are available for the study of practice. The article is available as open access here. Here is the abstract:

Political scientists have started to focus on ‘practice’ as the smallest unit of analysis. Following a broader turn in the social sciences, the practice focus provides multiple advantages, including better conceptualizations of short-term social change, getting closer to the everyday activities of those speaking, writing and doing politics, appropriate conceptualization of agency-structure dynamics, or forms of analysis resonating with other communities than scholarly ones. This contribution asks what the methodological implications of the practice turn are. It is argued that the practice focus does not only imply a certain ‘theory’ but also a certain methodology. I advance the term praxiography to speak about the forms of analysis produced by practice researchers. I discuss key guidelines of praxiographic research on two levels: first, general research strategies that provide empirical access points, second, guidelines for data collection in the frame of participant observation, expert interviews, and document analysis. I conclude in arguing that although praxiography is context driven, and hence requires to be tailored to the research problem, it is vital to reflect on the methodological repertoire of praxiographic research.

Political Methodologies in Practice – A Doctoral Training Workshop

This week we held a Doctoral Training Workshop in Cardiff. The focus was on questions of methodology, methods and skills. In the workshop we blended different discussion formats. Since methodology is always about experimenting and trying things out, we were experimenting with new formats. These helped us to match the needs of the participants with the expertise of the staff, and  sparked a range of discussions of interest to everyone. In a methodology workshop we discussed the projects of participants in smaller groups clustered around the themes of reflexive/interpretive, comparative, and philosophical methodology. In a methods cafe, we hosted tables for open discussion on a range of methods, including interviewing, participant observation, large-n analysis, and discourse analysis. In three roundtables, we discussed publishing, grant funding and career choices. Professor Jef Huysmans from Open University gave one of the keynote talks. In his talk titled “Methodological Acts” he outlined that methods need to be understood as complex practices which have political effects and perform the world in distinct ways.


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Into the Blue: Ideaslab on Maritime Security

On June 26th/27th we are organzing an IdeaLab on Maritime Security at Cardiff University. The objective of the two days IdeaLab is to explore how the maritime as a security space can be grasped from different disciplinary and practical perspectives. The intent is to discuss work in progress, exchange perspectives and develop ideas of what theoretical and practical contributions a collective project of transdisciplinary Maritime Security Studies can make to understanding the maritime and to facilitate the governance of maritime life. The aim is to address general theoretical questions pertaining to the maritime space as a field of international activity, to consider the governance of the maritime and the securitization processes underlying it and to study the international strategies towards maritime capacity building in regions such as Eastern and Western Africa. The IdeaLab will hence focus on the following themes:

  • How can the maritime as a space of international practice be theorized?
  • From Seapower to Maritime Security: How does the securitization of the maritime unfold?
  • After UNCLOS: What are the challenges for governing the maritime?
  • What responses to maritime threats such as piracy are available?
  • What maritime security strategies are required for just and sustainable order at sea?
  • What are the roles of navies, coast guards and development agencies in capacity building and external assistance in maritime security and developing the blue economy?
  • What are the objects, methods and priorities of Maritime Security Studies?

The Ideaslab will feature contributions by Kimberly Peters (Aberystwyth), Jon Anderson (Cardiff), Douglas Guilfoyle (UCL), Peri Roberts (Cardiff), Peter Sutch (Cardiff), Anna Leander (CBS), Tobias Burger (FU Berlin), Heiko Borchert (Sandfire), Bryan Mabee (Queen Mary), Xu Ke (Xianmen), Lindsay Bremner (Westminster), Basil Germond (Lancaster), James Baker (Sandhurst), Ian Lynn (Royal Navy), Peter Roberts (RUSI), Thorsten Bargfrede (EEAS), Merceds Rosello (House of Oceans), and John Guy. A detailed report is available here. 

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In the Field: The African Union and its Maritime Strategy


African Union building

The African Union is increasingly become a lead actor in African Maritime Security. With the conclusion of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) the core challenge is now to implement the ambitious project of strengthening Africa’s blue economy and addressing maritime instability. To discuss the implementation and how the international community can assist the AU, I am travelling to Addis Ababa from the 12th to the 18th of June, for a range of consultations and conversations. I am also attending a workshop organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on the 16th and 17th which deals with the same manner. The workshop titled “African Approaches to Maritime Security: The AU and Continental Perspective” includes contributions by a range of African maritime security scholars and aims at evaluating the state of maritime security on the continent and identifying priorities.

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Political Methodologies in Practice.

At Cardiff we are organizing a  Joint Doctoral Training Workshop of the Wales DTC, July 2-4, 2014. This three-day event is hosted by Cardiff University and brings together two distinct but complementary Wales DTC pathways: Conflict, Security and Justice (day one) and Language-Based Area Studies (day three). The second day is mainly devoted to core inter-disciplinary issues that are of relevant to postgraduate students in both pathways. This innovative workshop is open to all postgraduate research students in Wales and (at a nominal charge of £25) to all ESRC-funded students throughout the UK.

The workshop will include over 20 speakers from staff and students at Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Swansea Universities. Keynote lectures will be given by Professor Jef Huysmans (OpenUniversity) on ‘Methodological Acts’ and Professor Alistair Cole (Cardiff University) on ‘The Past, Present and Future of Language Based Area Studies’. Speakers and workshop leaders include David Boucher, David Bewley-Taylor, Rob Bideleux, Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Jonathon Bradbury, Christian Bueger, Gerard Clarke, Gordon Cumming, Andrew Dowling, Mark Evans, Paul Furlong, Inanna Hamati-Ataya, Nick Parsons, Roger Scully, Ian Stafford, Peter Sutch, Elisa Wynn-Hughes, and Matthew Wall. Continue Reading →

The Diplomacy of Monsters

How do non-state actors participate in the games of international diplomacy? What strategies and tactics do actors, such as rebel groups, sub-state governments, governments in exile, diaspora, cities, or sports clubs employ when they act on the international stage? And in what way does this change or transform the practice of diplomacy? Those were some of the questions we discussed at a workshop from 29th to 30th of May which was hosted by the Wales Governance Centre and organized by the Department of Politics and International Relations. Continue Reading →

Technology and Piracy

What role does technology play in the fight against Somali piracy? What future prospects lie in different technologies to curb and prevent piracy in the long run? What new regulatory challenges arise? These are the question a workshop hosted by the Copenhagen Business School and organized by the Center for the Resolution of International Conflict and the Counter-Piracy Governance Project addresses.  The one day workshop titled “Technological Solutions to the Piracy Problem? Challengers Ahead and Lessons Learned from the Horn of Africa” brings together different stakeholders, including different maritime security agencies, the shipping industry, maritime lawyers and maritime security scholars together to discuss the prospect and risks of a technologization of piracy.