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Kategorie: Allgemein

Land that is not Land

I have an enduring fascination with territory, space, and land and how we think about them. And while there is a lot to be said about that (and I have written multiple articles about it), I want to use this post mainly for something that I find both intriguing and hilarious. It’s about the German cadastral system and its concepts of Geringstland and Unland. This blog probably does not get more nerdy than that… Geringstland and Unland In the cadastral system, there are different ways of classifying land. James Scott tells us that this kind of „making nature legible“ is…

The Why and How of Global Governors

In 2010, Deborah Avant, Martha Finnemore and Susan Sell coined the term „global governor“ to refer to „authorities who exercise power across borders for purposes of affecting policy“ (Who Governs the Globe?, p. 2). I’m not sure the term „authorities“ is the best one (I’d prefer „actors“) but the remainder of their book makes it clear that they are looking for authority in the legal sense but in the more practical one – a „global governor“ is an actor who gets a seat at the tables of global policy-making. The History and Future of Global Governors Who are the global…

The Conceptual Arbitrariness of Digital Sovereignty

I wrote a commentary on one of my favorite subjects over at Theorieblog, the blog of the Political Theory Section of the German Association for Political Science. They are running a series of posts on sovereignty at the moment. This is the English translation of my post. In digital policy debates in Germany, Europe and the world, the term „digital sovereignty“ has become popular since the early to mid-2010s. In German-language discourse, digital sovereignty means – roughly – the ability to act, resilience, self-determination and/or autonomy in digital contexts of the state, society, private companies or citizens. However, in concrete…

Never Mind Digital Sovereignty, Let’s Talk Digital Territory

This is my introductory statement for tonight’s panel discussion on the „Politics of (Dis)Connection“. [EDIT: The event had to be cancelled. I will let you know once a new date has been scheduled.] In this input I want to talk about digital sovereignty, a very popular term, particularly from a European perspective. I want to make three points in this statement: 1) Digital sovereignty is useful for politics but bad for policy, 2) the EU and member states‘ governments use digital sovereignty to articulate a position vis-à-vis a threatening digitalisation, and 3) I’d much rather talk about digital territory than…

Checking in from the Virtual Tour Bus

A few months ago I noticed that I had accumulated a series of speaking engagements, conference presentations and panel discussions. In what seems like the only logical response, I announced a Fall/Winter Tour. I have now passed the midpoint and since some people on Twitter (remember Twitter?) and LinkedIn expressed interest in one or the other of these talks (also tour shirts – still figuring those out), I want to use this post for direction how to find more info. The Territorialization of the Global Commons Based on this paper (in German) A recording of the talk will shortly appear…

What’s Behind the Rise of Internationalized Intrastate Conflicts?

I was at a training conference for Bundeswehr officers today. The overall topic was the future of NATO but my own talk was focused on civil wars and their implications for the international community. That meant I was revisiting a topic that I used to work on quite a bit up until about a decade ago. And, given how much the world has changed since then, it felt a little anachronistic. It’s still a relevant topic but the international agenda has clearly shifted away from it. The Rise of Internationalized Intrastate Conflicts Anyway, the occasion prompted me to look at…

Sovereignty and Territory on the Internet

Next week, 23 November 2022, I will participate in an online panel discussion on the „Politics of (Dis)Connection“ organized by Niels ten Oever for the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies. The precis for the event is as follows: The possible establishment of a sovereign internet in Russia, European initiatives on ‘Digital Sovereignty’, and the conflict between China and the United States over Huawei equipment are rekindling the discussion on splinternets and the limits to global interconnectivity. Can the internet, the original network of networks, resist the contemporary strain, or was it built to accommodate these differences? That’s a big question…

I Got an Email from an Almost-Student

I love teaching. It’s probably the most meaningful part of my profession. When I retire, the biggest impact I will have had will not be through my articles or public outreach but in the hundreds and hundreds of students I have taught or supervised. Even though I meet most of them for only a semester, I take pride in being part of a system that helps them through a formative period in their lives. Sometimes, years later, a random name will pop into my head and I will turn to Google to see how they are doing now. A few…

Russian Romantic Comedies about Bridges

In preparing my talk for today’s Zeitenwende workshop, I decided to focus on an example to illustrate how a spatial approach can be used to bring together different theoretical perspectives on the same event. The war in Ukraine offers many such examples and I decided to use the 8 October 2022 attack on the Kerch Bridge. This operation, in which two tracks of the road bridge were destroyed, making it inaccessible to lorries, deteriorated Russian logistics for the supply of its Southern flank. It was also symbolically important because the bridge – at 19km the longest in Europe – was…

Oligarchs and Global Political Agency

As we are watching the results of the US midterm elections trickle in on our livefeeds (FiveThirtyEight for me; first impression: it’s looking better for the Democrats than expected), I am again reminded how Elon Musk urged his fans to vote Republican. Yesterday, I could only address this in parentheses and called it „ridiculous“ but I want to explain this a little more. My main point is not that Musk is a maverick daredevil who plays by own rules – from a historical perspective, Musk is not atypical for a particular class of businessmen that are gaining prominence again in…