Åsne Kalland Aarstad

Public/Private, Global/Local, and Land/Sea: International Relations and the Study of In-Betweenness

This PhD project aims at advancing a better understanding of international politics and security issues that cuts across established categories of thought and practice. The project draws on a critical-theoretical framework to analyse the role of private commercial actors, Norwegian expressions of security governance, issues within the EU’s foreign and security policy, and the agenda-setting political powers of the shipping industry. Theoretically, these topics are connected by two related points. First, they are all equally bound to global political dynamics that nurture, or are nurtured by, political fragmentation and pluralization. Second, they are all strikingly at odds with established analytical categories. Commercial actors in security governance, local expressions of security governance, the maritime domain, and the EU as an actor in foreign and security policy are largely considered to lie outside the traditional boundaries drawn between what is considered to be ‘in’ and ‘out’ in the study of international politics and security. In times of rapid social change, many of our familiar social-political categories are increasingly disconnected from the issue areas they seek to capture, describe, understand or predict. The project positions itself in the restless quest for a continuous expansion of IR’s ability to advance better understandings of our international political environment.

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