Authority and the Making of International Facts: Symbolic Orders, Expertise and Imaginaries
Ole Jacob Sending
University of Erfurt
Over the last couple of years, a debate as emerged that explores the production, stabilisation and justification of authority. In the post-national constellation, newer contributions have already outlined that authority is increasingly transnationally constituted, which challenges some of the core assumptions about the basis of political rule as vested in institutionalized hierarchies such as the state. We are interested in contributions that push the boundaries of the current debate and explore new terrains. In particular, we are looking for panel and roundtable submissions that explore how authority produces, or are products of, international facts, and how justifications and imaginaries form part of the making and re-making of authority. We are also interested in post-colonial and feminist approaches that challenge conventional wisdom about the constitution of international authority and its symbolic instantiations. Finally, we invite submissions that how the dynamic of particular fields or issue-areas may pre-figure what forms of knowledge are valid in shaping authority, how technology relates to authority, and how established practices may produce their own authority.
– Authority and the pragmatics of critique
– The pragmatics of justification
– The importance of knowledge, analogies, rhetoric
– Authority and power/knowledge
– The politics of expertise and politics of problematisation
– Power and identity
– Technology and authority
– Conceptual history, concepts and their performance
Bridging the Divide: Justice and Political Economy in Conversation
Elena B. Stavrevska
London South Bank University
London School of Economics and Political Science
This section brings together researchers working on questions of justice and political economy, acknowledging the important work done by critical, feminist, post- and de-colonial scholars in these debates and aiming to push these further. Over the years, scholars have explored different notions of justice focusing particularly but not exclusively on post-war or post-authoritarian contexts. However, questions of political economy have mostly remained marginal in these traditions. In parallel, IPE has questioned the structure of the global economic system, the distribution of resources and dynamics of social reproduction, but too often it has not conceptually engaged with justice. Yet, and even more so in light of the deadly inequalities further emphasised by COVID19, questions related to the meaning of justice, its scale, and the dynamics of power and contestation associated with it cannot be addressed in isolation from political economy. The section calls for contributions by researchers working on various dimensions of justice and political economy, including and not limited to everyday and global political economy, critical, feminist, post- and de-colonial political economy, as well as transitional, transformative, reparative, gender, environmental and racial justice. Among other themes, we encourage submissions on topics such as: scales of justice and global economic structures; political economy for conflict-related and/or environmental violence; justice and political economy perspectives on the cost of colonial, racialised and gendered violence; trade, finance and justice; informal practices across justice and political economy, and any other themes that fit within the scope of the section.
Bringing Animal Ethics and Rights into IR
Joana Castro Pereira
Portuguese Institute of International Relations, NOVA University of Lisbon
Anthropogenic pressure on the biosphere is driving the extinction of a growing number of animal species. Humanity has caused the loss of nearly 80% of wild and marine mammals, and roughly 15% of fish; approximately 60% of all the mammals on Earth are livestock, namely cattle and pigs, and only 4% are wild animals. The species going extinct as a result of human activity are integral working parts of the natural systems that support life (both human and non-human) on the planet – an often highly underestimated fact in world politics. In addition, the major role played by the livestock sector in deforestation, biodiversity loss, climate change, and water pollution and scarcity (very well documented in land, energy, climate, and water studies) should no longer be ignored in policy-making; nor should the exploitation and suffering to which billions of animals are subjected to every day. Rethinking the human-animal relationship is absolutely essential. Animal ethics and rights should be part of eco-politics at all levels of governance. The five panels of this section provide a platform to reflect, for example, on a) the theorization and conceptualization of animal ethics and rights from an IR perspective; b) issues pertaining to the political representation of animals and their treatment within existing national and international political institutions; c) the role played by social movements and NGOs in the promotion of animal ethics/rights; and d) tensions and potential synergies between animal ethics/rights and economic, social, and environmental policies at both national and international levels.
Crisis and Critique
University of Sussex
Ludwig Maximilians Universität
The current crisis calls for critical analysis. Trump and Brexit, populism and post-truth, global warming and migration panic, corona and capitalist meltdown – they all call for critical study and critical engagement. However, echoing an argument by Reinhart Koselleck in his book ‘Critique and crisis’, many observers have claimed that critique itself is in crisis – not only unable to confront the challenges of the time, but also enmeshed in and even responsible for what goes (wr)on(g) today. In this section, we will explore the role of critique in the present moment of crisis (or crises). We want to discuss not only the implications of the crisis for critique, but also the potential of critical approaches to illuminate the contemporary political, economic and ecological condition. Our goal is an understanding of what it means to engage in and practice critique in this time of crisis. We will pursue questions including, but not limited to:
· What is the nature of the current crisis?
· What was the role of critical theories in the run-up to the current crisis?
· How do critical theories interpret the current crisis?
· What impact does this crisis have on critical theories?
· What resources for theoretical development and/or political engagement do critical theories offer today?
· What opportunities does this crisis offer to critical theories?
· What is the nature of the relationship between critical theories and political practice?
· What does it mean to practice critique in this time of crisis?
Critical Military Studies
University of Portsmouth
Swedish National Defence University
Critical Military Studies provides an inclusive and interdisciplinary space for the interrogation of violence, war-making, militaries and militarisms, and their attendant structures, inequalities, legacies and pains. Indicative concerns include, but are not limited to: analysis of military lives, institutions and occupations; martial epistemes and constructions of enmity; the entanglement of martial desires and rationalities with domains from health and tourism to architecture and algorithmics; the imbrication of military power and violence with regimes of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability and anthropocentrism; the preparation, prosecution and aftermaths of war.
CMS thus engages with the myriad actors, discourses, materials, technologies, media, data, bodies, affects, practices, logistics and flows that constitute the broad capillaries of military power, as well as exploring how these become assembled and transformed in various crucibles of conflict. We welcome theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions that engage with military and ‘everyday’ spaces and settings, across a range of temporalities, and that deploy and develop analytics ranging from the intimate and emotional to the infrastructural and geopolitical.
We would particularly welcome contributions that foreground the ecological, that explore militarism and war-making as planetary forces, and that examine the very ‘natures of war’ (Gregory 2016) – the environments and atmospheres through and on which war is fought. How are forms of martial thinking and power entangled with the violences of extraction, contamination, fallout, toxicity and extinction, reshaping the very material possibilities and conditions of living and dying? How might resistance to militarism resonate with environmental and decolonial ontologies and practices?
Critical Studies on Terrorism
Autonomous University of Madrid
University of Warwick
In the last few decades, international terrorism and the fight against it has imposed itself on the political and security agendas of many countries and international organisations and has become a core focus of International Studies. Recently, the emergence of concepts such as ‘radicalisation’ and ‘extremism’, and the attempt to pre-empt political violence, have (re)shaped understandings of violence, temporality, and what constitutes danger. Moreover, the new centrality assigned to concepts such as pre-emption has also amplified the impact of counterterrorism on societies, allowing security discourses to penetrate the everyday, bringing with them human and civil rights abuses, and allowing new forms of societal control.
Within this context, this section considers that it is of paramount importance to bring together scholars to reflect upon, critique and deconstruct these processes. Therefore, this section would seek to create a space for rethinking terrorism and the related concepts from non-mainstream perspectives in International Studies. It aims at fostering dialogue between scholars coming into the study of terrorism from the most varied theoretical perspectives and geographical distributions, and analysing either the dynamics driving the use of political violence by individuals or groups or the discourses and practices shaping the fight against terrorism. The section aims at bringing together contributions that study terrorism, radicalisation, and extremism, and processes of countering and preventing them from critical, constructivist, gendered, (post)colonial, Foucauldian, socio-economic approaches. Moreover, contributions dealing with non-violent responses, peace approaches and resistance to discourses and governmentality of counter-terrorism will also be welcome.
Diplomacy – Past and Present
University of Gothenburg
Diplomacy is constantly changing. Over the last decades, the diplomatic profession has opened up to new social groups and is no longer exclusively the reserve of men of aristocratic descent. What is more, diplomatic functions are being performed by new social actors (e.g., civil society, celebrities) and diplomacy is practiced in new ways (e.g., use of social media). Understanding these changes may require new theoretical and methodological approaches. Indeed, following these changes, diplomatic studies has become a vibrant and innovative area of research.
Our section taps into this innovative research by focusing on the changing practices of diplomacy in a historical perspective. We imagine our section to ask a range of different questions about continuity and change covering anything from short time frames to the long durée. How do new developments reconstitute diplomats and diplomacy? What dimensions of diplomacy have stayed the same over time, as reified practices, and how? With decolonization, as a growing number of new states were diplomatically recognized with resident embassies, how was diplomacy transformed? Has diplomacy adapted to the recent entry of large numbers of women, and if so, in what ways? In addition to the huge impact of the recent “practice turn” on diplomatic studies, what are other theoretically innovative strategies to analyze diplomacy? What might the centering of non-Western agency imply for the study of diplomacy?
We welcome papers and sections interested in exploring these transformations.
Theoretically, methodologically and empirically innovative contributions are all encouraged, including feminist, postcolonial/decolonial and critical race approaches.
Doing International Political Sociology
Queen Mary University of London
Pontifical Catholic University Rio de Janeiro
This section aims at offering a space in EISA conferences for the engagement with agendas of research that gravitate around international political sociology as a site of critical explorations of the ‘problem of the international’. In the past fifteen years IPS sought to expand critical investigations at the intersection of different disciplinary fields in the social sciences in a move to expand and diversify scholarship in IR. The efforts to continuously push the limits of this intellectual movement, IPS has produced a variety of initiatives that have, for the most part, contributed to consolidate its transdisciplinary and transversal agenda, connecting scholars and researchers who share a disposition to transgress institutionalized repertoires of analysis and displace questions, methods and styles considered acceptable in the field. Following the exploration of the in-between, the contingent and the multiple in world politics that defines IPS, the section will stimulate debates that further its innovative research programme focusing on the importance of boundary traversing phenomena in world politics and on dynamics of fracturing social and political orders. Despite an intensified interest in the situated, the everyday, the event, and the local in IPS, gaining IR credentials still often requires that these little or momentary analyses have something to say about big orders, transformations and world histories. IPS is a site of exploring concepts and approaches that problematises these pulls towards the ‘big’. It does so by inviting conceptual and methodological inventing that challenges sociologies of order and explores sociologies of transversal connecting.
Elite Networks, the Climate Crisis, and the Global Crisis of (Neo-)Liberal Order
Bastiaan van Apeldoorn
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Berlin Social Science Center
The global order undergoes rapid change as multiple crises unfold. The arguably most consequential crisis is the climate crisis, but financialization, digitalization and the rise of platform corporations also foreshadow a dramatic transformation of global capitalism. Related to these processes we can also observe an ongoing crisis of neoliberalism, which has turned from a hegemonic to a contested doctrine. Such contestations are manifest in the crisis of the US-led liberal order as it is challenged from within through a populist backlash and from outside by a resurgent China. Point of departure of this section is that these crises can also be viewed as a crisis of elites as it is a world of their making that is in crisis. This applies especially to established Western, transatlantic, neoliberal elites. Studying changing elite networks and strategies will be key to understanding how these crises will be resolved (or not) and will shape the future trajectory of global order. This section will especially explore those (trans)national elites playing a key role in shaping (inter)national policy, and invites reflection on the relation between global elites and its wider range of non-elite “others”. We welcome papers that explore and analyse changing elite networks, strategies, ideas and discourses, especially as they affect actual policy-making. Panels will explore among others changing elite networks in the era of climate crisis; how established US and European elites seek to deal with both internal and external challenges =; and how Chinese and other rising power elites are (re-)shaping global governance.
Engaging STS in Planetary Politics: Staying with the Trouble
Marieke de Goede
University of Amsterdam
Goethe University Frankfurt
Concepts, theories and methodologies stemming from the field of Science-and Technology studies (STS) and material semiotics are becoming common place in IR. These labels summarise a diversity of approaches but they all share a commitment to remaining sensitive to the multiplicity of human and non-human entanglements. They explore power as continuously in the making. Previous work has demonstrated how for example digital technologies shape humanitarian intervention, how border technology is a result of a complex assemblage of humans, technologies and practices or how, how financial infrastructures are central to global political economies and inequities. Still, challenges remain when thinking about how to ‘translate the sociology of translation’ (Best/Walters). Donna Haraway captures this idea of staying with the trouble, in order to understand what troubles us as scholars and inhabitants of this planet.
This section aims at continuing the conversation about the trouble STS brings to planetary politics. The focus on this section will lie on conceptual and methodological challenges when deploying STS to all sub-fields of IR, broadening both the empirical scope and the conceptual resources, to bring in feminist and decolonial STS approaches. We ask: How do we translate STS to be useful in new domains? How can we redefine and rethink the conceptual terminologies of STS to make them attuned to researching controversies in de-bounded, heterogenous, and profoundly political environments? What modes of political critique are (not) afforded at this intersection? We especially invite contributions that engage with feminist and decolonial approaches to science and technology.
European Security: The EU and Beyond
University of Southampton
St Petersburg State University
European Security is becoming a hotly contested topic. ‘Europe needs to take over from NATO, NATO is brain dead, Europe cannot rely on America anymore’. These are just some controversies that we have experienced over the last years. At the same time, while the USA is increasingly withdrawing from Europe, Russia is increasingly aiming to occupy European space – political, territorial and geopolitical. China is also increasingly aiming to become an actor within the European space. How ready is the European Union to deal with the security challenges of the 21st century? Ever since the three-pillar structure of the European Union (EU) was established by the Treaty of Maastricht, it has become commonplace to associate the international role of the EU with Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), and subsequently also Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). These policy frameworks are certainly fundamental for the EU’s international security identity, but they are far from exclusive. This section invites panels and papers exploring the EU’s international security policies, frameworks and actors. One example includes the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, which has long been labelled as the EU’s ‘internal security’ framework. Another example includes the security role of the European Commission. These developments fundamentally challenge ‘what we know’ about the EU’s international security role.
Feminst, Post-Colonial and Queerly Creative Interventions in Global Politics
One of the central aims of critical and creative deconstructions and interventions in global politics is to help mobilize buried and discarded knowledges. Here we wholly align with the theme for the EISA 2020 Conference to join forces to imagine new forms of political, social and economic orders and, indeed, more sustainable lives across the globe. Radical thinking and acting is called for to shift powerfully destructive hegemonic forms of living, thinking and exploiting. A range of critical and creative scholars in International Relations have been doing some of this work, notably critiquing and undoing theoretical biases in the discipline and at the same time working to produce more ethical and effective knowledge reflective of the diversity of forms that politics, transformation and knowledge take. This work faces many barriers however, given the obdurate histories of universities as sites of hegemonic knowledge authorization, elitism and privilege. Urgent then is the task of expressly criticizing the contemporary methodological and political barriers to producing knowledge and opening up spaces for more diverse forms of scholarship on global politics to emerge. This section invites the most politically and creatively radical contemporary interventions in the study of global politics with a particular focus on the ways we produce knowledge, how we write and how we can re-think, un-do and make our worlds.
Gender Power and Global Governance of Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Graduate Institute, Geneva
Graduate Institute, Geneva
The global governance of environment, agriculture and natural resources have profoundly gendered impacts, and are embedded in gendered power relations linking the local to the international. From gender mainstreaming in governments and development partnerships to seemingly neutral policy-making on trade and investments in agriculture and environmental conservation, gendered asymmetries, discourses, and subjectivities emerge and are shaped at various levels of policy-making. A rich body of feminist literature also reveals the contested and contingent nature of restructuring economies, ecologies and people’s relationships to the environment as a source of life and livelihood. Gender as an analytic lens thus offers a number of possibilities to enrich debates relating to the global governance of natural resources, agriculture and environmental issues.
This section invites proposals examining how gender underpins governance of agriculture, environment and natural resources at international, national and sub-national levels. We understand governance in broad terms, involving a wide range of actors— states, private sector, international organizations and social movements— and their multi-scalar interactions. While we are interested in normative and regulative aspects of global governance, we also seek to explore how policies determining access and control over resources, agrarian livelihoods and environmental conservation respond to “external” factors such as violent conflict, state-building, economic liberalization and climate change. We invite empirically-grounded and theoretically-focused paper that adopt a feminist lens to unpack the gendered impacts, ideologies and power dynamics embedded in broad scale of activities encompassing the global governance of environment, agriculture, and nature.
Global Health: One Health and Power Politics in Nature
City University of Hong Kong
Health sits at the centre of power politics in nature. Humanity’s impact on nature has seen nature impact on humanity. Novel diseases now cross borders and populations with ease. Diseases proliferate in animal species, threatening not just the animals but the humans whose fates are intertwined with those animals. As the impact of the Anthropocene becomes more evident, it is necessary to understand how the politics of this relationship functions if we are to manage the health challenges that will only become more prevalent in the future.
Global health is an ideal lens from which to explore the threats facing humanity. It draws together participants from the natural as well as social sciences, from law and from economics. These different disciplines bring inter alia their own methodological concerns and priorities, ranging from equality of access to mechanisms of governance to the epistemologies of health and disease underlying the politics of global health, or the political determinants of health Whilst this list is non-exhaustive, a consensus in all global health study is the prominent role that politics plays in decisions about the provision of health. The inclusion of a series of global health panels in the 2020 PEC will encourage the type of cross-disciplinary fertilization of theories and approaches that helps to identify opportunities for the mitigation of the crises facing all life. As such global health is the embodiment of Glissant’s idea of the écho-monde where all things resonate with the other, and where solutions spillover beyond their intended targets.
The rationale for the section evolves from the call for broadening, diversifying, and globalising the study of IR. The need for globalising IR has been anticipated by Hoffmann 1977, Bull 1985, Cox 1981, Alker 1984, Holsti 1985, Ashley 1987 and has been taken up by scholars from both the Global North and South. Although there are many labels used to describe the fragmented attempts at globalising IR, most share the critique of the dominance of American IR, persistent Eurocentrism, and the existence of the discipline as a subfield of political science. Globalising IR will offer an intellectual space for all scholars working on any aspect of IR want to make the discipline more global even if their focus is one specific region.
EISA offers a perfect platform to advance the process of globalising IR. Even though there have been many attempts to globalise IR, they have remained within a specific disciplinary space. This EISA Section aims to build on these previous efforts but also go beyond, and to globalise IR also in the sense of bringing in its concerns (Eurocentrism etc.) into different sub-fields e.g. comparative regionalism and European Studies. Globalising the sub-field of European Studies alongside IR is to advance Chakrabarty’s (2000:3) claim that the “European age” in modern history began to yield place to other regions and global configurations”. In order for European Studies to remain relevant, it is a must to move away from provincialization to locating the study of ‘Europe’ in the study of globalised IR.
Historical International Relations
Benjamin de Carvalho
Zeynep Gulsah Capan
University of Erfurt
Historical International Relations has gained traction over the past decades, as reflected in a growing presence of papers and panels at major conferences in the field of International Relations (IR). Strong in its experience in fostering such engagements beyond sub-disciplinary boundaries, the HIST section aims at engaging with works ranging from more theoretical reflections on history and international relations to more specific empirical discussions. The HIST section offers a timely platform for reflections on historical knowledge in IR, now that a longitudinal perspective on our present has become an ever more pressing matter to understand and explain current international affairs. A main aim of this section is thus to focus on specific historical trajectories and transitions and to question the idea that often dominates in IR that the making of the international rests on historical, clear-cut ruptures. The HIST section invites scholars interested in all types of historical inquiry: from micro-histories of the international to particular historical event or phenomenon, or in historiographic explorations of international relations and/or the academic field of IR.
International Migration, Nationalism and Interethnic Relations
Universitat Ramón Llull
University of South Wales
International migration has several key implications for International Relations. Human mobility can actually affect bilateral and multilateral relations; is often connected with the upsurge of tensions between states and ethnic groups; influences the way the international system and the role of the nation within it are regarded; and is a central topic of discussion in the field of national, international and human security. Moreover, from the early 1990ies, further understandings of why international migration have increasingly been socially constructed as an issue that, from social, cultural and economic concerns, has entered the security domain have developed what is known as “the securitization of migration” literature.
Nonetheless, migration is also the focus of non-security studies in IR, such as the analysis of the governance and the management of human mobility, or the influence of phenomenon such as transnationalism and diasporas in IR. Furthermore, crucial are the consequences that international migration involves for regionalism and cosmopolitanism, or for interstate cooperation, sustainable development and inequalities. Newly studied is instead the nexus between migration and climate change. For all of the intersections that exist between migration, nationalism, inequalities and interethnic relations, human mobility has often entailed a relevant bulk of action by part of both state and non-state actors. The role of civil society, NGOs and social movements, along with the policies, practices, techniques, speech acts and performances of state actors, have often been at the core of innovative analysis that have contributed to further expanding the understanding and perspectives of international studies.
International Political Design: International Relations Beyond Writing
Jonathan Luke Austin
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
How is world politics made? Materially, technology, aesthetically? How is it designed? Through a deliberate consideration of form and object? And how, if we understand all that, can we re-make its contours? In ways that alter the very fabric of the world political? Building-up, quite literally, a different set of material-aesthetic infrastructures around which its events might flow? International Political Design (IPD), as a section, will explore questions like these. IPD will call attention to growing efforts at exploring the (extant, possible, and future) relationships between International Relations (IR), critical, speculative, and transnational design studies, and artistic or aesthetic studies. While the field of design has become increasingly concerned with topics core to international affairs (war, violence, climate change, inequality, etc.), IR has also moved towards a far deeper understanding of the importance of materiality, technology, aesthetics, visuality, and related phenomena for international affairs. The time is thus ripe for a sustained exploration of how these fields currently – and may in the future – interact in ways that have the potential to transform the critical, normative, and ethical status of the discipline. As an EISA section, IPD will invite contributions from across IR that coalesce around questions of (social and political) design and its relevance to the analytical, normative, and practical aspects of (intervening in to) world affairs. IPD will – in particular – seek
to use the standing section format to develop a forum through which scholars increasingly concerned with engaging the International through non-epistemic means can explore novel theories, methodologies, and tools to expand IR beyond what Frederic Kittler called the continuing monopoly of writing within social science. That includes the possibility of constructing
(making) concrete technological objects, the importance of producing deliberately aesthetic interventions into world politics, and inquiring into a world political status quo that appears to
radically exceed the still dominant focus on cognition, reflexivity, and political deliberation. This mission is of especial relevance to scholars working across a transdisciplinary set of sub-fields, including international political sociology, critical security studies, feminist theory, science and technology studies, practice theoretical approaches, the visual turn, and cognate fields of inquiry across the discipline. The standing section would seek, following these goals, to redefine perceptions of what appropriate avenues through which to engage critically with world politics constitute and understandings of what explicitly political social scientific practices can involve. In line with these goals, the convenors will also place an especial focus on 1) encouraging non-traditional modes of conducting and presenting scholarly work relevant to work affairs, 2) reflecting on the ethico-political implications of such work, and 3) soliciting contributions and engagement from scholars outside the boundaries of IR.
University of Copenhagen
University of Duisburg-Essen
International Practice Theory (IPT) has proven to be one of the most innovative research programs in International Relations. Outlining and developing novel concepts and frameworks and a renewed interest in methodology, it has led to new kinds of empirical material on world political phenomena. This section invites scholars interested in international practices and IPT to take stock, to review ongoing research projects and reflect on conceptual vocabularies, but also to discuss the frontiers of international practice research. Several themes are in focus of the section. Firstly, how IPT enables productive cross-disciplinary discussions with other social sciences, the humanities and even the natural sciences. Secondly, how the attention of practice-oriented scholars to concrete and observable practices that shape everyday world politics allows for integrating into IR research methodologies, such as abduction, participant observation, or ethnography. Thirdly, how such research methodologies provide an empirical ground for new forms of theorizing world politics as spatially and temporally situated phenomenon. Fourthly, addressing ontological challenges such as the relation of practices to power, reflexivity, critique, visuality, technology, or normativity. We particularly welcome contributions that focus on methods or discuss the relationship between IPT and related frameworks and disciplines such as pragmatism, anthropology, assemblage theory, actor-network theory, science and technology studies, or narrative and visual approaches.
International Relations in the Anthropocene
University of Westminster
University of Hamburg
The Anthropocene has become a major concern for scholars of international politics and one that, for many authors, fundamentally destabilizes much of the traditional disciplinary concerns and assumptions. The crisis brought about by rising temperatures and sea levels goes well beyond the physical impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic environmental changes. The Anthropocene is a crisis of government – as established modes of governance seem increasingly inappropriate to deal with the complex and unbounded political problems we see emerging. Furthermore, the Anthropocene is a crisis of Western ethics and political theory – as established anthropocentric norms, institutions and values appear increasingly problematic and outdated. Finally, the Anthropocene is a crisis of imagination, as Amitav Gosh crucially reminds us, since it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine any alternative to the current path of fossil-fuels based consumption and destruction.
The proposed section is devoted to the multiple engagements of IR scholars with the notion of the Anthropocene. It provides a space to think through the new forms of political agency and governance that we see emerging in the Anthropocene. It fosters critical discussions of the concept – for example from decolonial, feminist, and/or poststructuralist perspectives – and invites proposals for thinking the Anthropocene differently. It reflects upon the technological dimension of the Anthropocene and engages with the implications of posthumanism beyond the realm of ecology (for example in the realm of AI and other emerging technologies). Finally, it includes methodological discussions and fosters new and creative approaches to studying international politics.
University of Tuebingen
London School of Economics and Political Science
This section brings together researchers who are interested in the analysis of the international realm as a society, its institutions and norms, as well as their development. It wants to encourage debates about the historical development and present nature of the international society, how its norms and institutions emerged and developed, its relations with world society, and its challenges. We value both analytical and normative approaches. Thus, we are, for instance, interested in analyses of how different types of institutions relate to each other and 4how they affect the behaviour of states and other actors, as much as we want to encourage normative and critical engagement with the current world order and its ongoing transformations. This includes, for instance, analyses of the tensions between pluralism and solidarism or between the global and regional international societies, or studies of the shifting distribution of power and its effects on international society and its institutions. While some of these issues are at the heart of the so-called “English School” of International Relations, we find them in many other theories and approaches, including Social Constructivism, Systems Theory, Institutionalism and various Critical Theories. We thus see the study of international society as a bridge between many IR approaches, and encourage a pluralism of methodologies. For 2020, we are particularly interested in paper and panel proposals that link the development of international society to environmental changes, or engage in the analysis and critique of the role of “environmental stewardship” in international society and its institutions.
Invisible institutions? Regional Development Banks in the Global Political Economy
The University of Manchester
Central European University
This proposal is guided by a relatively straightforward research puzzle: Why are regional developments banks (RDBs) under explored in international relations and international political economy (IR/IPE) literatures? RDBs constitute an important, yet remarkably invisible component of the international political and financial architecture. These institutions are situated among a growing network of embedded multilateral development arrangements that traverse multiple scales, overlapping sovereignties, and operate at the global, international, regional and sub-regional level.
These institutions have both regional and non-regional members and are ostensibly engaged in channelling financial and technical assistance to public and private borrowers while simultaneously disseminating knowledge, regimes and standards, and rules at the regional level in the broad context of development. What little literature exists on the RDBs tends to identify technical differences in terms of their origins, their institutional structures, lending processes and analyses their effectiveness in setting regional agendas. There is of course though a veritable landslide of material produced by the RDBs themselves, as even the most cursory glance at their institutional websites affirms, and the RDBs remain a key source of data for the maintenance of neoliberalisation modalities. It is not as if other similar international institutions like the World Bank, IMF and OECD have been ignored.
Even following the ‘global financial crisis’ scholarly attention has remained steadfastly focused on the universal development banks rather than exploring the regional counterparts. We are left then with an almost blank slate for contemporary engagement with RDBs.
Narratives in International Relations
Chemnitz University of Technology
Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
The goal of this section is to critically discuss and enhance novel research on narratives in International Relations (IR). It is by now well-established that narratives are of upmost importance in international relations (e.g., Krebs 2015; Miskimmon/O’Loughlin/Roselle 2017). Not only are they critical for any form of community in which stories of the self in the past and future are the building blocks of national, regional or local identities, narratives are also a means of making sense of the social and material world around us. Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of scholars in IR is employing the method of narrative analysis to explore a wide range of topics, including national identity (Campbell, 1998; Hønneland, 2010), security (Hansen, 2006; Krebs, 2015), foreign policy (Ringmar, 1996; Oppermann/Spencer, 2018) and violent non-state actors (Spencer, 2016).
At the same time, important blind spots remain. Conceptually, there is little agreement on the definition of narratives. Theoretically, open questions relate to what makes certain narratives more or less powerful in political discourse and to what extent they are employed strategically. Methodologically, scholars disagree on how to reconstruct narratives and struggle to establish and compare their broader resonance. Empirically, promising angles for further research include authoritarian and populist narratives; narratives in non-Western countries; and non-verbal modes of storytelling, including visual narratives. The section invites papers that push the boundaries of our knowledge about the construction, dissemination and impact of narratives in world politics. It endorses a pluralist perspective and calls for contributions of any theoretical and methodological orientation.
Performing Anthropo(s)cenes: Politics of/with(in) Popular Culture
Gabriella Calchi Novati
Farmingdale State College (SUNY)
C G Jung Institute Zuerich
A century after the foundation of the discipline, scholars of International Relations are only now awakening to the ramifications of global climate change and the sixth mass extinction. Unlike Geography, which rallied around the so-called Anthropocene as a unifying field of interrogation, IR has tended to keep planetary-level changes at the edges. Our section strikes from these margins, unveiling the impact of the Anthropocene on IR as it manifests through performances across the popular culture-world politics (PCWP) continuum. We seek submissions focused on imaginaries of post-apocalyptic/dystopian IR, far-right ‘environmentalism’, and eco-genocide/eco-apartheid, as well as human-animal interactions, North-South inequities, and indigenous/feminist critiques of climate change. Our call is transdisciplinary given the necessity of addressing such issues through a synergy of forces that cannot be achieved within IR scholarship alone. We invite proposals from researchers, artists, and activists for original papers, performances, and projects addressing the ‘power politics of nature’. Suggested themes:
– Filmic narratives (e.g. The Day After Tomorrow, Geostorm, Snowpiercer, What Happened to Monday, Mad Max: Fury Road, Blade Runner 2049, Annihilation).
– Literary visions (e.g. James’ The Children of Men, Windo’s The Feed, McCarthy’s The Road, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and MaddAddam Trilogy, Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, El-Akkad’s American War).
– Political/social/ecological performances (e.g. the rising of Greta Thunberg’s international activism, speeches, and interviews, FridaysForFuture and Extinction Rebellion, the political figure of the climate refugee, Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Bolsonaro’s UN theatrics – paired with planetary untameable wildfires, unprecedented flooding, racing icecap melting, and the Insect Armageddon).
Political Economy Beyond Boundaries
University of Sheffield
Birkbeck, University of London
The section aims to develop a sustained research network of scholars working in and beyond International Studies to promote critical research on the global political economy. Grounded in recent calls to diversify the disciplinary focus of (International) Political Economy, the section will offer a home for scholars to study contemporary capitalism and its gendered and racialised operation at the global, local and household levels. The section aims to advance an explicitly “global” outlook for political economy research in contrast to the existing Eurocentric framework of IPE. To this end, we will prioritise and feature knowledge produced in and for the global South, and utilise the section as a means to design meaningful collaborations between scholars in the global South and North.
Popular Culture and World Politics
Over the past decade there has been a growing community of scholars concerned with the ‘popular culture and world politics continuum’. Framing the research agenda as a continuum implies popular culture and world politics are mutually implicated. Some argue popular culture reflects world politics and so provides a novel entry point to research and teaching where, for example, Hollywood cinema is used to illustrate theoretical or conceptual arguments. Approaching popular culture as a continuum facilitates a far richer research agenda because it recognises popular culture constitutes world politics: popular culture is world politics. However, world politics also conditions and constrains popular culture. A surprisingly diverse community of scholars has built a foundational, transformative research programme that is complex, multifaceted, and which cuts across traditional divisions within International Studies. The Section would continue to focus on the emerging research programme of Popular Culture and World Politics, which continues to be one of the most innovative new research programmes in critical international studies. Many ECRs have invested in PCWP related sections and we will strive to continue to be an inclusive environment for ECRs, building on the diversity that characterizes the PCWP research community. In addition, it would invite panels with an explicitly pedagogical focus, as popular culture and world politics is entering the curriculum of universities across Europe and around the world, and so there is an appetite for a collective consideration of PCWP pedagogy.
Power, Nature and the Reconfiguration of Political Space: Facilitating Dialogue between International Relations and Political Geography
With IR grappling with pressing issues like climate change and the anthropocene, the limitations of our theoretical and conceptual apparatus are becoming evident. How can we bring material ecological concerns into our discipline while avoiding eco-determinism or dismissing them as secondary to the power games that actors play?
Evidently, inspiration from other disciplines might be helpful in moving conversations in IR forward. This section aims to explore concepts from political geography such as space, territory, scale and place as different ontologies of socio-spatial relations. They represent intersections between ecology and power, and the constructed nature of space offers an opportunity to bring together material and ideational factors. Papers and panels for this section could focus on spatial techniques of governance, socio-political constructions of nature, political ecologies of the anthropocene, global-local intersections of nature and power, or the cross-scalar impact and politics of climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Race, Racism and the Governing of Borders and Migration
University of Amsterdam
University of Amsterdam
Race and racism occupy a marginal place in migration and border scholarship. In the last two decades, governmentality studies have provided important critical analyses of mundane rationalities and technologies through which borders and mobile populations are governed. While these studies have unpacked the ways in which practices such as risk profiling, digitalization and mass surveillance have generated segregation, exclusion and marginalization, questions of race and racism are largely absent within this literature. Recent research on critical security studies has identified what Bhambra (2017) has termed a “methodological whiteness”, which refers to the failure to account for the role race plays in the construction of security knowledge and the structuring of society and international relations. Such methodological whiteness is also a major shortcoming in migration and border scholarship despite important contributions on the topic in postcolonial research, Science-and-Technology Studies and critical race studies. The objective of this section is to address this shortcoming by putting race and racism at the center of our research on borders and migration. We invite contributions addressing the racialized dimension of rationalities, knowledges, technologies, relations and spatial configurations of border and migration management. We encourage submissions which are attentive to the historical and context-specific practices and processes through which borders and migrants are racialized. Submissions of interdisciplinary nature are especially welcome.
Reinventing the Mediterranean: Identity, Politics, Security
Aslı Ergül Jorgensen
The Mediterranean is a highly heterogeneous region with cultural, social, and economic disparities which also reflect its own North-South divide. While the Southern Mediterranean is represented as the stage for intractable conflicts, authoritarianism and socio-economic backwardness; the Northern Mediterranean is predicated as peaceful, democratic and prosperous. Yet, the Mediterranean, as a whole, is affected by global problems such as illegal immigration, illicit human/arms/drugs trafficking, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc. All these differences and challenges make the Mediterranean a significant space, marked by complex power relations. Beyond its socially constructed identity and the socio-economic, political and cultural challenges that affect it, the Mediterranean is increasingly and especially challenged by natural calamities – climate change, water scarcity, etc. – which have also added new dynamics to this complex web of power relations. This section aims to evaluate the region from a broad perspective and to reinvent the Mediterranean through examining its different manifestations – historical, cultural, ecological and political – and inquiring specifically into the power relations which constitute them. How are inclusive and exclusive identities formed and shaped in the Mediterranean? How does EUrope construct the Mediterranean? How does the interplay between identity and security affect power relations in the Mediterranean? How are environmental challenges and power relations interlinked? What are the possible effects of climate change on regional identity and security? The section invites paper and panel proposals which pursue a fine balance between theory and practice. Both critical and positivist approaches to the Mediterranean are welcome.
Rethinking Political Subjectivity, Community, and Scholarship Beyond Division
The University of Manchester
University of Warwick
While the world is described as increasingly divided, a rising number of people is on the move or already live outside their country of citizenship. With democracy seen as under threat from populism, curbing immigration had come to be seen as necessary to bring people together in their own communities and assuaging the anger precipitated by inequality. The current pandemic has highlighted not just the very serious implications of inequality especially for those who have been racialised but simultaneously brought to the fore that non-citizen residents are essential to health and care services as well as food production and delivery, leading to the emergence of incipient new solidarities. Yet logics of bordering and division still appear to be increasingly normalized and unassailable internationally. This approach neglects the extent to which such separation is impossible and requires disregarding people’s personal, familial and affective relations, racializing as ‘foreign’ anyone whose life does not neatly align with the bordered state system. This section seeks to assess the possibility for revitalising contemporary political imaginaries by inviting contributions thinking beyond traditionally conceived political subjectivities, drawing on ideas of democratised and decolonial border thinking, being-with-one-another, racialisation and the affectivity of community. What critical resources are there for rethinking political subjectivity and community? How do insights about the need for others in constituting ourselves prompt new ethical and political vocabularies? What is the role and capacity of critical International Studies scholars in challenging and shaping public discourse beyond the present impasse? How can the current moment engender new ways of thinking? We welcome papers that address these themes from traditions of thought that eschew the border of the state as a starting point and/or explore actually-existing practices that point to another politics beyond division.
Rituals and Symbols in World Politics
University of Antwerp
University of Kent in Brussels
This section explores the political work of rituals and symbols in international politics. Constructivist scholarship in International Relations has emphasized the meaning-laden nature of social existence, including international conduct. Yet the challenge for the (broadly conceived) constructivist approach remains how best to grasp processes of meaning-making and the politics thereof. In his recent tour de force Praxis-volume, Friedrich Kratochwil (2018) maintains that ‘[w]hile for certain practices custom and habit are sufficient, for the emergence of “institutions,” which are productive of “social power,” more sophisticated arrangements involving symbols and concepts become necessary.’ This section departs from the assumption that – in addition to and in conjunction with the role of norms, rules, language, practice – symbols and rituals play a crucial role in this regard. It sets out to explore the precise nature of the role symbols and rituals play in processes of meaning-making, and to document how the process pans out along various dimensions of international politics. The section will give space to theoretical engagements with the concepts of ‘symbol’ (and symbolization) and ‘ritual’ (and ritualization), but also more empirically grounded treatments of the role of rituals and symbols in world politics (ranging from diplomacy, transnational communities, war, international law, contestations of global governance, including climate politics, etc.), and the historicization of that role. The section draws on, and seeks to expand earlier collaborative explorations of rituals in world politics at EWIS 2018, EISA Exploratory Symposia 2018, EISA PEC2019 and ISA2020 workshop. The section entails 8 panels and 2 roundtables.
Science, Technology and Security
Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna
Security policy and security practices can hardly be imagined without science and technology. Political programs foster the development of technoscientific security tools, and science and technology are often presented as drivers for behavioral and institutional change, as they enhance or curb actor capacities. Thinking about the science, technology, and security is however complicated by the political work and ambiguity of innovations. Science and technology can be conceived as threats just as well as means for security production – and sometimes even as both at the same time (think for instance of drones and how they can be used by different actors for physical attacks, reconnaissance, or rescue).
IR scholars have more recently explored novel ways to conceptualize and study science, technology and security within the international, including – but not limited to – approaches from STS, sociology, anthropology, assemblage theory, and new materialist philosophy. The aim of this section is to encourage conceptual, methodological and empirical work informed by critical thinking and creative theorizing along these lines. We thus invite contributions that explore the interplay of science, technology and security across different domains such as warfare and the military, counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation, the regulation of global mobility and borders, science diplomacy, dual-use research, and others.
Small States in World Politics
University of Copenhagen
University of Macedonia
The aim of this section is to address the big questions in world politics from the perspective of small states. It seeks to gain in-depth knowledge about small states security in war and peace, their approaches in cooperation and conflict, their strategies of survival and influence, the interplay between the domestic and the external environment in the international relations of small states, their norms and practices in international politics. Its mission is to provide a forum for a growing but fragmented field of study in the International Relations discipline and stimulate a research agenda in a field that despite recent steps forward remains largely repetitive and parochial. We invite papers and panels on any topic concerning the international relations of small states in Europe and beyond. We consider of particular interest studies exploring the strategies small states employ to respond to the changing nature of world politics and examining the vulnerabilities and opportunities small states are facing due to rising uncertainty in the international system. We welcome scholarship investigating the particularities of the international relations of small states and the lessons that can be learnt from the efforts of small states to successfully navigate a competitive world despite their limited resources. We encourage contributions by both senior and emerging scholars providing innovative theoretical and/or empirical insights. The section advances academic pluralism in theories and methodologies but also in terms of gender and geographical representation.
Spatializing Peace and Conflict
Philipps University, Marburg
Analysing violent conflicts and peace processes from a spatial perspective is slowly but steadily holding entry into IR in general and peace and conflict studies in particular. Yet, there has been no sustained inquiry into linking peace and conflict with space and place. A spatial analysis can provide new and important insights into processes of peace and the dynamics of conflict as situated within and constitutive of different spaces and places. This innovative section thus explores war and peace through spatial approaches, both empirically and theoretically and in doing so advances and emplaces the field. Currently, much of the academic writing inadvertently incorporates a spatial perspective when focusing on struggles over territory, borders or resources. Institutional analysis, geo-political investigations, but also global vs. local debates and place-based perspectives assume an integral and strongly space-related part of academic frameworks. What is missing in current IR-scholarship, though, is to bring to the fore the spatial dimension of these spaces, places and sites and to assess how they condition – and are conditioned by – conflict and peace processes. These social and political practices cannot be considered detached from the particularities of the grounded sites they take place in. To fill this lacuna and to advance the spatial turn in IR, the section explores the emergence of conflict and peace as situated within and constitutive of different spaces. All panels, roundtables and papers employ space as an analytic category, develop strong theoretical contributions and offering new empirical insights based on original research.
The Domestic Politics of Global Governance and International Disruption
Aukje van Loon
Ruhr University Bochum
Ruhr University Bochum
Recent disruptions in international cooperation such as the US-China trade war, US leaving the Paris Agreement, G20 conflicts, Brexit and Eurozone crisis show the crucial role of domestic politics. Societal discontent over the effects of neoliberal globalization, rising income inequalities and antagonistic lobby groups have shaped divergent governmental preferences towards international economic cooperation. Ideational electoral controversies over national self-determination and the role of the government in steering the economy further challenge the ‘liberal international order‘. The difficulties to reach an effective global climate and trade accord illustrate these problems of global governance.
Domestic politics theories of IR and IPE have conceptionalized the impact of material interests (lobby groups), ideational expectations (voters) and of domestic institutions on governmental preferences. Theories such as IR liberalism, historical institutionalism, societal approach, open economy politics, foreign policy theory, and domestic ideational approaches seem well equipped to analyze the domestic sources of recent disruptions in international cooperation, while leaving space for further developing, for instance, the conditions for the bearing of value-based ideas, domestic institutions or material interests.
This section’s purpose is twofold. It aims at explaining recent disruptions in international cooperation with the domestic societal foundations of governmental preferences and at developing domestic politics theories. Thus, contributions are welcome which apply these theories to explain current problems in international cooperation (regarding climate, trade, finance, development, security etc.) and which theorize, for instance, on government’s responsiveness and on the interplay between material interests and value-based ideas.
The Everyday Life of Intelligence – Critique, Reflexivity and Transdisciplinarity
Hager Ben Jaffel
National Center for Scientific Research
‘How everything became intelligence and intelligence became the everyday’ neatly sums up the contemporary transformations of intelligence in a post-Cold War context and its expansion to become a stake in various occupational sites.
In times of enhanced counterterrorism and mass surveillance, intelligence has become increasingly dispersed to affect daily life of an ever-increasing number of empirical sites and professionals by extending the scope of its ‘targets’ to cover so-called ‘suspicious’ activities, mobilities and behavioural patterns. Intelligence is thus part of the everyday routines of public and private actors other than the explicit intelligence services, such as police forces, internet providers and social care institutions. This transformed rationale of intelligence challenges the conventional ‘problematisation’ within Intelligence Studies (IS), and thus cannot be adequately analysed through the traditional IS lens alone. To enhance knowledge on contemporary intelligence, this section aims at furthering a ‘critique’ towards the study of intelligence by bringing together approaches across the spectrum of IR (and beyond) that are extraneous to IS’ core assumptions and therefore examine intelligence from different points of entry.
This section invites panels, roundtables, and papers that challenge conventional IS scholarship and bring fresh perspectives to the investigation of intelligence, with a specific focus on the professionals and practices of intelligence. Key questions for participants to consider include: what is the ‘problematisation’ of intelligence today? How can we disrupt the conventional ways in which intelligence is studied? In which ‘new’ empirical sites is intelligence done?
The International Politics of Memory
Over the past decades, issues related to how societies relate to the past have been the subject of astounding academic interest. Traditionally, collective memory, remembrance, trauma and heritage have been studied extensively in Sociology, History, Nationalism Studies, and Cultural Studies. The investigation of the connection between memory practices, historical discourses and interstate relations has recently also received attention in Foreign Policy Analysis, International Relations, and Security Studies. Although research on the use of (historical) memory in international politics is on the rise, the link between remembrance practices, discursive construction of history and interstate relations is still undertheorized. We anticipate that the papers presented within this section will advance this field of study by drawing on the interdisciplinary analysis of the concepts presented below. The goal of the section is to discuss the advantages and shortcomings of the relevant scholarly literature on memory and international politics, and to engage with the topic both theoretically and empirically. The section seeks to facilitate dialogue between scholars who study the international politics of the past, but who use in their studies different theoretical approaches and concepts, for example historical narrative, collective memory, remembrance, trauma, forgetting, or heritage. The section does not seek to privilege any of these concepts. It strives to be open to new conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches.
The Party Politics of Foreign Policy: Parties, Parliaments, and the Political Contestation of the International
Justus Liebig University Giessen
University of Milano
Over the last decade, the trend toward stronger politicization and polarization of domestic politics, boosted by the financial crisis and a (populist) backlash against various phenomena of globalization, such as Europeanization/ regional integration, free trade or migration, has also reached foreign policy. The proposition that politics stops at the water’s edge, long questioned from liberal and constructivist scholarship, is no longer tenable in the light of the increasing contestation of foreign policy across all areas, like economics, environmental politics, security, or defense. These developments pose new questions to the role of parties and parliaments in foreign policy(-making), how they formulate preferences, and how they try to influence/ conduct politics for the international realm.
This section wants to give space to a thriving but yet scattered literature on the role of partisanship for foreign policy. Whereas parliaments and some states’ (especially the U.S.) domestic politics of foreign policy have received broader attention, the research on parties’ role in foreign policy and the relevance of their respective ideologies is still in its early steps. This section aims at developing various important streams of thought further: Can we develop a more integrated theory of the role of parties in foreign policy across issue areas, polities, and continents? How does the politicization of foreign policy change partisanship in parliaments? What is the role of populism and radical parties? What does politicization of foreign policy look like in non-western contexts? Are there any constraints on party politics in the hot security and defense realm?
The Politics of Internationalised Welfare
University of Bremen
University of Bremen
In recent years, students of International Relations have increasingly paid attention to internationalised welfare as a relevant field of study. In contrast to the traditional welfare literature, which conceptualises social policy primarily as a domestic issue, this new branch of scholarship emphasises the influence and impact of global dynamics and international actors on social needs and welfare provision. However, different areas of international engagement, such as global health, social protection, or humanitarian aid, are often treated as separate fields of study.
In this section, we aim to bring these fields together and to analyse the fundamental questions linking them: How do international political structures—from colonialism to global governance—impact on welfare states around the globe? What influence do international and transnational actors have on the design, finance and provision of welfare systems? Which ideas and interests drive international involvement in welfare provision?
From the ‘age of empires’ to the contemporary multilateral world, international authorities and actors have addressed social inequality, political grievances and environmental risks in different ways. The section seeks to highlight changes and continuities of internationalised welfare. It is therefore structured in a historical order that connects the past, present, and future.
The Politics of the Ocean and Polar Regions
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel
The Polar regions are the most from climate change. The ocean faces as well radical changes due to global warming. These changes create political re-percussions both in the attempts to meet the challenges and in conflicts related to the consequences of dramatic environmental changes. Due to the remoteness of the polar regions as well as the unfitness of the ocean for human habitation, the marine and polar realms have attracted little attention in political science. Yet it is here we can explore how the forces of nature inform international politics. The sea and polar areas have always been important theatres for cooperation and conflict. Empires have been built along sea routes and sought to conquer the poles, people migrate via the ocean, and most of the world’s trade is seabourne. The ocean is both separating and connecting political communities and even namesake to prominent international institutions like NATO. Increasingly the ocean and polar areas are recognized as spaces of global importance requiring also global management efforts. How are the politics in these areas beyond the nation-state taking up the challenges of the marine and polar anthropocene? How do national competitions play out in these realms? How can shared norms be established to provide security, to protect the marine environment, and how to resolve conflicts over competing uses of ocean and polar space? Are existing international institutions fit to govern this truly global realm? The section invites scholars from different fields to jointly investigate the politics of ocean and polar regions.
The World as Data-Points: Technology, Power, Politics
Queen Mary University London
Technology in its multiple forms shapes the world in which we live – this includes material contexts as much as socio-political relations at the domestic and global level. Never before, however, have technological infrastructures been so ubiquitous and pervasive in directing our environmental and human contexts. From ‘smart’ border systems to machine-learning algorithms for predictive policing or counterterrorism efforts, and from satellite technology for the monitoring of human rights violations, conflict or climate change, to AI systems that determine the success of visa applications, technology plays a key role in mediating political decisions and enacting global politics. Recent work at the intersection of International Relations (IR) and science and technology studies (STS) has made advances in taking seriously the role of technological artefacts, but the study of how emerging technological systems inform and sustain particular economic, political, and social relations, as well ethical ideas, remains pressing. This section takes seriously the power new digital technologies wield on the human sphere of action and on global politics more broadly and seeks to address the various ways in which it mediates and shapes our environment and our actions therein. It does so by foregrounding the study of material and ideational infrastructures that support, maintain and mediate technological developments and our digital landscape. How is human judgement and decision making affected by digital infrastructures? What is the environmental impact of digital ecologies? How does power circulate in technologically shaped and mediated infrastructures? What happens to ideas of responsibility within landscapes of digital power?
Translating International Relations
Filipe dos Reis
Copenhagen Business School
University of Groningen
The concept of translation and the politics of translation occupy a prominent place in international studies. This section addresses the recent concern with translation in international studies and its increasing employment in research focusing on social dynamics and orders in world politics. How do norms, concepts and theories travel across time and space and how do they get translated? This section focuses on knowledge construction in and through encounters and multiple worlds. These encounters structure international relations and images of the ‘international’. Each encounter requires translations. Translation is an ontological condition of the international. From the first encounter with the ‘New World’, through the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the spread of Western concepts and norms across global space, meaning constructions and social connections unfold in and through practices of translation. It is through processes of translating that the boundary between different contexts and fields is inscribed with meaning, becomes legible and determinate. Difference is mediated in translation. The section is of interest to scholars in various academic fields, including International Relations, International Political Economy, and International Law, feminist theory, de- and post-colonial theory, Actor Network Theory (ANT), post-analytic linguistic philosophy, ethics, and translation studies. The section engages with the conference theme in a number of ways. Translation is a ‘mode of concealment’ in which some actors are given voice and others silenced. The politics of translation unfolds in encounters between different ecologies. It is the vehicle through which distinctions, such as the human/non-human distinction, are constructed, contested and changed.
University of Tuebingen
Visual International Relations (IR) is an internationally growing field of academic research, political critique and aesthetic practice. Past work in this field has shown how our understanding of international relations, security and world politics is enhanced by paying attention to vision, visuality and visuals. We invite scholars interested in deepening our engagement with how different international and global political phenomena such as migration, climate change, human rights, gender, and war are visually mediated and constituted, and in reflecting on how different visual technologies from oil paint to computer vision intervene in the political. We encourage contributors to engage as well as employ different media such as photography, computer-generated images, film, graphic novels, video and painting.
Theoretical and methodological contributions that critically reflect the merits and challenges of Visual IR are gaining terrain in journals and edited volumes. We invite contributions that deepens this engagement by addressing vision, visuality, visibility, and visuals in IR in unexpected, theoretically informed and methodologically reflected ways. Contributions that investigate the normativity of vision and (in)visibility are particularly welcome, as are contributions to enhance our teaching practices and to think about IR in terms of creativity.
War and Peace after the Human
University of Vienna
University of Hertfordshire
War and peace are structural features of the modern international system. They represent pure, idealised relational conditions between a range of actors including states and people. Yet, both concepts struggle to cope, politically and analytically, with recent developments pointing to the relationality and contingency of such interactions. Critical perspectives on peacebuilding have pointed to the crisis of practice and the current development of a state of affirmation: the emergent complexity of iterative processes and unintended outcomes on the ground signal the end of the ability to transform war into peace. Hybrid threats, human/nonhuman entanglements, cyberwar, geological crises, as well as a range of unpredictable forms of resisting and resilient agency, have blurred the ontological and epistemological boundaries of peace and conflict. They have also opened up the opportunity to conceptualise them without relying on emphasising active human involvement. These developments are intrinsically linked to what has come to be understood as the Anthropocene, characterised by a reflection on the profound effects of human action on the natural world and on the social and political assemblages that are enmeshed with it. These developments inform Anthropocene reasoning and contribute to reshaping international relations both as a practice and as a discipline. This section invites contributions concerned with the broad terms of war and peace and their reshaping under the condition of the Anthropocene, particularly in the field of peacebuilding, cyberwar, new weapons systems, as well as theoretical and conceptual contributions addressing the value of war and peace in relation to posthuman ontologies.