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Security Communities, Alliances and Macrosecuritization: the Practices of Counter-Piracy Governance


Abstract and Figures

Within less than a decade piracy has been turned from a marginal economic problem into aglobal security problem. A surprising array of international actors addresses piracy and coordinates theiractivities. In this contribution we interrogate this astonishing story of international cooperation. We arguethat what we observe here is a global security governance arrangement under construction. We conduct apraxiographic analysis of the current counter-piracy governance arrangement. A praxiographic analysistakes as the main unit of analysis practice, that is, collective patterns of action which entail speech anddoings. Based on this evidence we carry out what can be called an “informed speculation” about thefuture of the arrangement. Based on the notion of macro-securitization we develop three different formsof expectations (or scenarios) of what characterizes the piracy governance arrangement: 1) an interestbased “alliance” or “coalition of the willing”; 2) as a forming “security community” of cosmopolitan orregional scale; or as a 3) hybrid “global security assemblage”.
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5 Security Communities, Alliances,
and Macrosecuritization
The Practices of Counter-Piracy
Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
Within less than a decade piracy has been transformed from being per-
ceived as a marginal economic problem into an international problem dealt
with by major security actors. In 2000 Gottschalk and Flanagan argued
that, “the problem of piracy is a major one that, despite articles in many
general-circulation publications, is being largely ignored.2 Indeed, when
for instance the United Nations (UN) commissioned in 2004 a High Level
Panel on Threats, Challenge and Change to assess the major threats to
international security and peace, the panel did not even mention piracy.3
Looking back from 2011 piracy has not only become a widely accepted
threat, but also has elicited some extraordinary responses. Within three
years the UN Security Council has issued seven resolutions4—the fi rst ones
ever dealing explicitly and exclusively with piracy. An informal governance
mechanism, the UN Contact Group on Countering Piracy o the Coast of
Somalia, has been formed at the UN and over sixty states participate in the
group. Over thirty states are militarily engaged in the Gulf of Aden through
di erent naval missions. These states notably include former enemies and
present adversaries, such as China, Russia, India, Iran, and the NATO states.
A plethora of international organizations have put piracy on their agendas,
including several UN agencies, and regional organizations such as NATO,
the African Union or the European Union. The European Union (EU) has
included piracy as a signi cant threat in its 2008 review of its European
Security Strategy5 and its fi rst ever joint naval mission, Operation Atalanta,
is designed to address piracy. Countries such as Japan and China are con-
ducting out of area naval missions for the fi rst time since WWII. In Eastern
Africa the new piracy threat has led to new regional initiatives and triggered
cooperation previously unknown to the region in the fi eld of security.6
This chapter interrogates this astonishing story of international coop-
eration. We argue that what we observe here is a global security gov-
ernance arrangement under construction. Yet, what characterizes the
in: Maritime Piracy and the Construction of Global Governance, edited by Michael J. Struett, Mark T. Nance
and Jon D. Carlson, London: Routledge, 99-124, 2013.
100 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
governance arrangement that attempts to address piracy? If it is “under
construction,” what shape will it have in the near future? Will it become
a governance arrangement that transforms global security relations more
permanently? Will it lead to a re-evaluation of maritime security and trans-
form how maritime space is governed?
To address these questions we conduct in this paper a “praxiographic
analysis” of the current counter-piracy governance arrangement. A prax-
iographic analysis takes “practice” as the main unit of analysis, that is,
collective patterns of action which entail speech and doings. Based on the
insights delivered by such an analysis we carry out what can be called an
“informed speculation” about the future of the arrangement. For our anal-
ysis and speculation we seek the assistance of contemporary global gov-
ernance theory. Out of the literature we develop di erent scenarios of the
counter-piracy governance arrangement. We develop an understanding of
the arrangement as an interest based “alliance;” as a developing “security
community” of cosmopolitan or regional scale; or as an ongoing struggle
of overlapping scripts. We develop a set of indicators and use these to ana-
lyze the contemporary practices of addressing piracy along the spectrum
of three arenas signifi cant in the global fi ght against piracy (the maritime
space of the Gulf of Aden, New York and Eastern Africa). We proceed in
speculating about the likelihood of each scenario.
Our analysis contributes to the international relations literature in at least
three ways. First, we develop an eclectic analytical framework useful to inter-
rogate global governance arrangements.7 Eclectic frameworks “refuse to carve
complex social phenomena solely for the purpose of making them more trac-
table to a particular style of analysis” and aim “to demonstrate the practical
relevance of, and substantive connections among theories and narratives con-
structed within seemingly discrete and irreconcilable approaches.8 Here we
o er a way of combining di erent approaches of global security governance,
which have often been projected as competitors, that is, alliance theory and
security community theory in particular. We do so by relying on a practice-
theoretical ontology that can combine these.
Second, our analysis will be interesting for the debates in security studies on
how contemporary threats are governed. A vibrant agenda around the frame-
work of securitization theory9 has approached the construction processes of
(non-traditional) threats, such as failed states, transnational organized crime,
HIV/Aids, or climate change. In using the idea of macrosecuritization10 we
draw on, as well as extend, this research. We add the securitization of piracy
to the discussion, but we also contribute to this literature by addressing two
defi cits. In focusing on a structural (global) level we conceptualize a level only
rarely emphasi zed in securitization research which tends to concent rate on the
regional or inter-state level. Secondly, we enrich the research agenda in fore-
grounding the importance of “practice,” that is, the ways in which securitiza-
tion scripts are enacted in everyday practice. So far the securitization agenda
has centered on the study of representations and constructions of threats,
rather than security practices such as the use of force.
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 101
Third, in extending the focus our discussion is of immediate relevance for
the emerging inter-disciplinary fi eld of piracy studies. Piracy studies are pri-
marily interested in the elaboration of military, legal and development policy
options.11 More recently the focus has turned on attempts to understand the
phenomenon of piracy, that is, the behavior of pirates12 or the “root causes”
of piracy.13 This is very relevant res earch. Yet, it is important for pirac y studie s
to go beyond causal, behavioral or policy-related research and to address also
the broader implications of piracy—the global governance aspects of piracy,
how piracy is handled as a global problem by di erent actors and what trans-
formations it induces in the global governance of maritime space.
Our discussion does not, however, provide a lengthy reconstruction of
the historical process by which various actors have securitized piracy in
the past decade. We address this important question elsewhere.14 Here we
are primarily interested in understanding the character and future of the
counter-piracy global security arrangement(s).
Our analysis unfolds in the following way. In section two we discuss con-
temporary global governance theory. We start in introducing Barry Buzan
and Ole Wæver’s idea of macrosecuritization.15 The macrosecuritization per-
spective is particularly useful for carving out the social, spatial and practical
components of the piracy securitization. We use the threefold scales suggested
by Buzan and Wæver to gather an understanding of the potential transforma-
tive reach of piracy as an issue. Based on this initial assessment we formulate
two perspectives on counter-piracy governance, an alliance and a security
commu nity on a cosmopolitan or regional scale. We proceed in presenting the
results of our praxiographic analysis of counter-piracy practice. We focus on
three major arenas of counter-piracy governance (maritime space, UN, East-
ern Africa) and highlight the key practices at work. We interpret our results
through the lenses of the perspectives and carve out scenarios for the future of
counter-piracy governance. Three scenarios are presented, the scenario that
counter-piracy governance is a temporary alliance, that it has wider identity
e ects and carries seeds for security community formation and thirdly, that
alliance elements and security community elements become mixed in a messy
process. Section four summarizes.
Barry Buzan raised the question of whether the Global War on Terror-
ism will be the new Cold War.16 His argument was that the Global War
on Terrorism presents a “political framing for world politics”17 much as
the Cold War did. And if the Global War on Terrorism framing “suc-
ceeds as a widely accepted, world-organizing macrosecuritization, it could
structure global security for some decades.”18 Buzan o ered a specula-
tion about whether the Global War on Terrorism will succeed and which
102 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
potential consequences will follow from that. In other words, based on
the idea of macrosecuritization—later further developed in a joint article
with Wæver—he argued that a successfully constructed threat, through its
framing being accepted by an international audience, can structure global
security relations signifi cantly.19
While there are some obvious di erences between piracy and the Global
War on Terrorism—including a di erent sense of urgency to address piracy,
and a di erent role of the U.S.—it is promising to take up Buzan’s quest of
macrosecuritization for the case of piracy. There is some signi cant evidence
that the securitization of piracy may have considerable e ects on the structure
of global security. Firstly, merely the number of state and other actors that
accept the framing and participate in addressing piracy is impressive. A signif-
icant number of states contribute military forces, including states that did not
participate in multilateral campaigns before (e.g., China, or Japan). Secondly,
there are clear indications that the contemporary fi ght against piracy is not
only about Somalia. To provide some instances: in the light of the piracy dis-
cussions the U.S. has re-launched the idea of a Global Maritime Partnership20;
a recent (informal) debate in the UN General Assembly has treated Somalia
to be a “case study”21 and in the same debate UN Secretary General (UNSG)
Ban Ki Moon has argued for taking the Somali problem as an opportunity
to re-think the governance of maritime security more broadly.22 Finally, as
the data provided by the International Maritime Boards forcefully shows,
piracy incidents do not only occur o the coast of Somalia.23 East Asia and
West Africa are other piracy hotspots. Indeed, piracy is increasingly spreading
across Sub-Sahara African coastlines. The growing geographical dimension
of piracy makes it likely that the international structures constructed to cope
with Somali piracy might be used to address piracy in other regions. Indeed in
2011 the Security Council expressed its concerns over piracy in West Africa
and issued its fi rst resolution on piracy in this region. These indicators dem-
onstrate the potential of the securitization of piracy to have larger structural
e ects on the organization of global security.
The macrosecuritization framework provides us with an access point
to understand counter-piracy and its global governance arrangements. It
provides a solid basis for building scenarios drawing on other theoretical
perspectives. Usefully, Buzan has expanded the idea of macrosecuritization
together with Ole Wæver.24 Before we discuss the concept of macrosecuri-
tization let us very briefl y revisit the idea of securitization.
A successful securitization is organized by three elements:25 an issue which
is accepted as threat, a collective whose survival is threatened by the issue,
and a script for action followed by the actors of the collective or those rep-
resenting it. As illustrated in Figure 5.1, all three elements form together a
(successful) securitization and perpetuate it.
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 103
Securitization researchers have been primarily interested in the fi rst two ele-
ments. The main focus has been on understanding the processes by which
issues are framed and accepted as threats and on the identity of communi-
ties constructed in presenting something to be a threat. Given their general
emphasis on representation and speech, scholars have been less interested
in questions of action, that is, whether and how actors follow in their every-
day actions the scripts a securitization entails (or resist them). This practi-
cal gap is increasingly fi lled by scholars relying on “practice theory.”26 This
approach takes patterns of actions (practice) as the basic unit of analysis
and sees questions of threat construction and identity formation (represen-
tation) as a secondary aspect of practice.
By macrosecuritization27 Buzan and Wæver understand “overarch-
ing securitization that relates, organizes and possibly subsumes a host
of other middle-level securitizations.” They suggest it is a “concept to
cover securitizations that speak to referent objects higher than those at the
middle level (for example, ‘universal’ religions or political ideologies; one
or more of the primary institutions of international society) and which
aim to incorporate and coordinate multiple lower level securitizations.”28
Macrosecuritizations are rare in history. Indeed, they nd the macros-
ecuritization of the Cold War (a constellation shaped by two competing
macrosecuritizations) to be a rare example, and suggest that other con-
temporary cases such as the Global War on Terrorism, the anti-nuclear
movement, the securitization of global warming or the war on drugs, have
not reached the same level of intensity. Interestingly, Buzan and Wæver do
not refer to piracy as a case, although it is maybe the fi rst threat in history
which was cast in universal and global terms, as given by the conception
of piracy as hostes humani generis, and the role of piracy in the founda-
tion of universal international law.29
Figure 5.1 Basic elements of securitization.
Source: Own illustration
104 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
Two aspects make Buzan and Wæver’s discussion particularly useful for
our question. First, Buzan and Wæver are interested in how to conceptualize
the space between the interaction of “units,” that is, between actors such as
states, international organizations or transnational groups (what they term
the “mid-level”) and the larger patterns which structure or order these inter-
actions (what they dub the “global level” and we have referred to as global
governance arrangements). Second, the idea of di erentiating securitization
through three types of degree levels (aggregation, comprehensives, success)
provides a useful taxonomy for ordering types of securitization.
Buzan and Wæver categorize securitizations according to variations
within each of the three core dimensions discussed previously (identity/
collective, threats/issues, practice/script). The fi rst refers to what they call
level of analysis or level of aggregation and addresses the collective/identity
dimension. This category refers to the size of the collective that is (re-) con-
structed in securitization. They suggest such sizes or levels to be the follow-
ing ones: “Individual,” “Group,” “Unit Level,” “Civilizational,” “System
Level,” or “Global.” The second category refers to the degree of compre-
hensiveness of a securitization and addresses the issue dimension. Does it
cover only specifi c issues and problems or is it encompassing, all-inclusive?
Here they distinguish between “niche,” “partial,” and “inclusive.” Thirdly,
they distinguish between di erent degrees of success of a securitization and
address the practice dimension. How well and widely accepted is the secu-
ritization? This third category is best rephrased as a category of the practi-
cal homogeneity of a collective achieved. This addresses the question: who
actually follows a securitization script in practice and to what degree?
Buzan and Wæver’s threefold categorization is useful to engage in a fi rst
approximation of the potential spectrum, the depth and breadth, of the
securitization of piracy. Figure 5.2 carves out the potential spectrum of
the piracy securitization. To start with the degree of comprehensiveness,
Global Anti-nuclear movement
Civilization Potential Spectrum of Piracy
War on
War on Drugs
Defense of
the West /
Unit Level National Security
Niche Partial Inclusive
Figure 5.2 Potential spectrum of piracy securitization.
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 105
the piracy securitization is certainly not all-inclusive, in that it does not
aim at covering all thinkable social relations and issues. Rather, it falls
between niche and partial degrees of comprehensiveness. Seen as partially
comprehensive, the piracy securitization covers the security of maritime
space and global trade relations. Seen as niche it is either delimited on the
issue of “piracy” or even smaller as it covers primarily the security of a par-
ticular transport route in the Gulf of Aden. Approached from the category
of aggregation or size, the piracy securitization is fairly ambiguous and
could be placed somewhere between the state or unit level and the global
level. It can be understood as unit level in so far as international actors
have constructed with each other pirates as threats. It might be approached
as civilization, since the Western style of consumption and sovereign mar-
itime border regulation is at stake, or it might be approached as global
since piracy is constructed as “enemy of all mankind.” Finally, support
for the piracy securitization, or the degree to which those involved adhere
to espoused scripts, is minimal to moderate, but well short of complete. A
wide variety of actors are active in counter piracy, but their security prefer-
ences are far from determined by the emergent piracy securitization.
This locus of activity along the three axes of macrosecuritization goes
some distance in explaining the challenges of governance associated with
piracy. On one hand, the construction of pirates as enemies of all mankind
simultaneously constructs a global, cosmopolitan collective that is threat-
ened by piracy. At the same time, the reality of counter-piracy e orts sug-
gests that a much narrower selection of actors is doing the bulk of the
work in line with traditional conceptualizations of alliances and national
interests. The following section outlines two logically possible scenarios for
how securitization of piracy could develop. Following that section, empiri-
cal investigations assess the extent to which emerging practices in the coun-
ter-piracy issue area correspond with each possible scenario. Let us now
sketch two scenarios that represent the most logical extremes of the likely
spectrum of the piracy securitization represented in Figure 5.2.
Our fi rst scenario places piracy in the lower left corner of the spectrum in
gure 5.2. Counter-piracy governance at that end of the spectrum takes the
form of an alliance. Barnett and Levy use the term alliance in its broadest
sense to “refer to a formal or informal relationship of security cooperation
between two or more states and involving mutual expectations of some
degree of policy coordination on security issues under certain conditions in
the future.30 Neither the degree of commitment nor the specifi c form of pol-
icy coordination or conditions under which it would take place need to be
explicit.” Alliances are thus not necessarily limited to “formal associations
between states for the use (or nonuse) of military force,” as holds in tradi-
tional understandings of alliance theory, and may also include more fl exible
106 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
governance arrangements.31 Such fl exible perspectives on alliances are also
expressed in balance of power theory, in particular the notion of soft bal-
ancing, which is arguably the most dominant theory explaining alliance
behaviors among states.32 According to the defi nition by T.V. Paul, “Soft
balancing involve[s] tacit balancing short of formal alliances. It occurs when
states generally develop ententes or limited security understandings with
one another to balance a potentially threatening state or a rising power.33
The understanding of balancing (or bandwagoning) alliance arrangements
are thus extended to include more informal formations and loose coalitions
between states as well as to “ad hoc cooperative exercises, or collaboration
in regional and international organizations.”34
Based on realist perspectives, both alliance and balance of power theory
emphasize that egoistic and self-centered states are the primary and only
durable collectives in the anarchic international system. States tend to coun-
ter-balance against external threats (including those from other states) by
allying with other states. These arrangements between two or more states
however, are only temporary and limited in scale and scope. Driven by the
material power calculations of self-interested and competing partners, they
are often unstable, fragile and prone to internal struggles. “Thus while alli-
ance formation is an inherent practice of the balance of power mechanism
of security governance, in the predominant view it does not fundamentally
change the competitive power dynamics.35 Alliance arrangements either
decline or disappear with the threat or because of the shifting power cal-
culations of states. As summarized by Buzan and Wæver, in the alliance
scenario “actors and their securitizations remain essentially egotistical and
self-centered, and the system atomized. In such a system only alliances pro-
vide any scope for actors to link their securitizations together, and in the
realist framing alliances are necessarily temporary and instrumental.”36
From this perspective we are likely to see that piracy is approached as
an issue of national security. The collectives constructed are the state and
its economy and piracy is considered to threaten the security of national
property and the life of national citizens (e.g., crew members). No larger
framings are at play. Moreover we will see alliance behaviors such as com-
peting interactions and contradicting scripts, practices, and behaviors in
dealings with piracy. In such a scenario we will not expect larger more
endurable structural e ects. It remains in essence a niche problem of
national property and the safety of citizens.
Security Communities
Units that securitize together and thereby form and construct a commu-
nity have been described in the literature as security communities. Our
second scenario, representing the upper right corner of the piracy securi-
tization spectrum in Figure 5.2, is hence that the securitization of piracy
leads to the formation of security communities. Similar to alliances security
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 107
communities should be understood as a distinct governance arrangement.
In Adler and Greve’s understanding, such communities share a distinct way
of handling things together, a distinct “repertoire of practices.37 Adler and
Greve describe a security community as a distinct mechanism of security
governance; if it is at work “power does not trigger balancing behavior,38
instead alliances and alignments “are rooted in mutual trust and collec-
tive identity.39 Adler, Greve and Pouliot argue that security communities
are characterized by a repertoire of at least six distinct practices.40 That
is the practice of self-restraint, the practice of directing common enter-
prises, projects and partnerships, cooperative security practice, diplomacy
as the normal practice, a disposition of spreading the community outward
through socialization mechanisms and teaching and more specifi c practices
of military planning, of confi dence building, and of policy coordination.
In summary, the security community perspective stresses that threats may
lead to shared practices of coping with those threats and as such become
the source of a collective identity and enable the formation of new or the
intensifi cation of ex ist ing sec urit y commu nities . Thi s pe rsp ective hig hlights
the importance of not only investigating representations of threats, but also
the shared practices by which actors aim at coping with them. For our case,
this requires focus on practices of directing common enterprises, projects
and partnerships and policy coordination to cope with piracy.
Di erent kinds of security communities are conceptually possible. Secu-
rity community formation can vary along the scale of comprehensiveness.
Security communities could address only piracy; alternatively the broader
sphere of maritime security or all the security needs of a community. Sec-
ond, communities could vary along the axis of aggregation. We might think
of a cosmopolitan security community, which is the most demanding and
places piracy in the upper right corner of the spectrum. Then, piracy is
fr ame d in globa l, un iversalist term s. T he h istorical representation of pirate s
as the “enemy of mankind to be addressed by universal principles that
became the foundation of modern international law41 was crucial in devel-
oping the institution of sovereignty.
If this idea is revived as the core ordering device of global security rela-
tions42 that may lead to a cosmopolitan moment, a mutual sense of belonging
to the globe which could trigger developments such as a world (maritime)
government or a world navy. Yet, we should consider the narrower notion
of regional security communities, in which piracy is primarily addressed
as a regional problem and approached in terms of a regional framing. A
regional security community scenario moves attention lower on the scale of
aggregation to the space between the unit and the global level.
In sum, in security communities actors construct securitizations with
each other. They share threats and referent objects. In engaging in collective
practice to address the threat they form more durable sets of security depen-
dence and collective identities on a regional or global level. The following
section examines the praxis of counter-piracy and analyzes how practice
108 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
does and does not refl ect the theoretical expectations of the two scenarios
just discussed.
In order to assess the nature of the counter-piracy arrangement in this
section we present the results of our praxiographic analysis. We use these
results to advance di erent stories of how the counter-piracy arrangement
is developing using the scenarios. We start in presenting an overview of
which actors participate in the fi ght against piracy, in which spaces they
interact and what practices prevail in these spaces. The basis of our dis-
cussion is a more extended praxiographic study of the behavior of dif-
ferent actors and a mapping of their practices. In this ongoing study we
combine various data sources, including but not limited to, o cial policy
documents, meeting protocols, data gathered through expert interviews,
news reports, news blogs, and statistical data.43 We used these data for
triangulating our results.
Arenas: What Practices Are Observable?
An impressive number of actors contribute to counter-piracy. At least 27
states contribute military equipment and even more provide personnel. This
includes most G20 countries and notably countries such as China, India,
Iran, Russia, and Japan. For both China and Japan it is the fi rst recent out
of area naval mission conducted. More states are diplomatically active in
addressing piracy. If we include participants in the several forums a num-
ber of 60 states can be seen as participating in counter-piracy. In addition
to states, several international organizations (IO) have started to develop
counter-piracy plans or implement projects based on such plans.44 Besides
the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Interpol, which have
been mandated to address piracy for decades, several other IOs have become
participants in counter-piracy. This includes NATO and the EU as leading
military actors, UN agencies such as the United Nations O ce of Drugs
and Crime (UNODC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM),
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations
Political O ce for Somalia (UNPOS), regional organizations, such as the
Arab League (AL), the African Union (AU), the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), or the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD).
For identifying the di erent practices that constitute counter-piracy we
investigated di erent “arenas.” By an arena we understand dense local
spaces (or sites) where di erent actors interact to counter piracy. An arena
includes all actors committed to act within it. In the following we discuss
three of these arenas: (a) the maritime arena (the Gulf of Aden) which pri-
marily involves military actors and their practices; (b) the diplomatic arena
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 109
in the frame of the United Nations, in which practices are primarily of
a diplomatic and regulatory character; and (c) the broader East African
arena, which is characterized by practices of capacity building and wider
developmental assistance. These arenas provide us with a spectrum across
diplomatic, military, and developmental practices as some of the most basic
types of practices that constitute global political relations.
Maritime Military Practices—The (Greater) Gulf of Aden
The maritime space of the Greater Gulf of Aden provides the arena in which
primarily military actors engage with each other. Several frameworks of
interaction have been created in this arena. The most basic framework is
the so-called Shared Awareness and Deconfl iction (SHADE) mechanism.
In monthly meetings military representatives try to ensure that the patrol
area of di erent missions are not overlapping and that all ships in an area
do not respond to the same distress call. SHADE is chaired jointly by the
commanding o cer of the Combined Task Force 151, the EUFOR Atalanta
and, since 2010, China.
The Maritime Security Center-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) provides
a more integrated information sharing mechanism to manage the patrol
system of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and
organizes convoys through the Gulf of Aden. The centre was established by
the EU to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and to facilitate
information sharing between naval vessels and merchant ships. MSC-HOA
primarily coordinates the three major multilateral missions in the area.
That is NATO’s operation Ocean Shield, the EU’s operation Atalanta, and
the U.S. initiated Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), comprised of three
Combined Task Forces (CTF), out of which one task force (CTF 151) is
explicitly tasked to counter-piracy, while the others also are tasked with
other contributions (e.g., to support Enduring Freedom more generally).
Many states contribute equipment to more than one mission. The main
assets used are frigates, patrol boats, helicopters, surveillance planes and
special forces. The navies mainly operate from the ports of Djibouti, where
France has a harbor, and the U.S. base in Bahrain. Also the port of Mom-
basa is used for logistics or the transfer of piracy suspects. Several navies do
not participate in any of the frameworks. This includes for instance Iran,
Japan, and India. The majority of militarily participating states however
participate in at least one of the frameworks.
The main practices of military actors can be clustered in two types:
preventive practices and reactive ones. Preventive practices include sur-
veillance by satellites, aircrafts, and helicopters. The aim is to spot pirate
vessels and motherships. Since it is di cult to distinguish between local
shing boats, trading ships, and piracy vessels surveillance is a hard task.
If vessels carry along ladders (to board ships), large amounts of fuel,
sophisticated navigation equipment, or weapons, this is taken as evidence
110 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
of a piracy vessel. Since pirates can easily throw over board such evidence
the direct contributions of surveillance to prevention is limited. Hence
preventive practices centrally work via the deterrence of attacks through
the protection of merchant vessels. Protection is conducted through the
transit corridor—a demarcated space in which navy vessels as well as
surveillance is strategically deployed to provide for a minimum level of
safety—as well as through the organization of escorted convoys. Such
convoys are either organized by MSC-HOA, and in this case they are
comprised of vessels under the fl ag and ownership from di erent nations
(international convoys), or by national navies, in this case they are com-
prised of fl agged or owned ships from one nation only (national convoys).
In several instances also single ships have been escorted (which includes
the escorts for the WFP by operation Atalanta, and the escorts for AMI-
SOM by operation Ocean Shields). Some merchant (or fi shing) vessels
however neither register with MSC-HOA nor use the transit corridor or
escort services.
The second set of practices is reactive. Such activities are usually set in
motion once a distress call is received. Helicopters, as the fastest military
assets, are employed to distract pirates and interrupt an attack. This often
entails the fi ring of warning shots, which have in several incidents injured
or killed pirates. The nearest navy vessel is sent to the pirated ship. The
general tactic has been to prevent pirates from boarding a ship, or in the
case that the crew has managed to ensure its own safety (e.g., in a panic
room), to fi ght pirates also on board. If crewmembers have been taken
hostage already the military (if arriving in time at all) usually withdraws.
However, as a number of recent incidents demonstrate, these tactics are
changing and there is the tendency to attempt to recapture hijacked ships
by the use of tactical teams and special forces that board the hijacked ves-
sel. The practice of recapturing, which can also imply the use of special
forces once a hijacked vessel harbors in Somalia, is contested as it puts the
life of hostages at considerable risk. Indeed, several pirates and seafarers
have been killed already in operations conducted by French, U.S., South
Korean, Malaysian, and Indian forces which attempted to free ships sailing
under their respective fl ags.
For the case of a successful interruption of a piracy attack, the pirate
suspects are usually arrested on board, evidence is collected (e.g., weapons,
clothes) and the suspects are transferred to Kenya or the Seychelles from
where they are either taken into custody by the national Kenyan authorities
or fl own to the respective state that conducted the arrest. Not all navies,
however, follow an arrest, transfer, and prosecution protocol. There are
several reported cases in which suspects have been released on land or left
without equipment in the open sea. In these cases the practice of releasing
has often e ectively put the lives of suspects at risk and may be a death sen-
tence in practice. Piracy suspects are released either because of a lack of evi-
dence, or a lack of willingness to transfer suspects to judicial prosecution.
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 111
In summary, in the maritime arena a complex set of largely military
practices is at play. Military force is used at least in four ways: through the
practice of fi ring warning shots, self-defensive force in the case of shoot-
outs, through the practice of recapturing, and through the practice of set-
ting suspects free. While the fi ring of warning shots and self-defense are
generally accepted, the practices of recapturing and of catch and release
are contested and are not shared by all participants. A second divergence
arises over whether (and to which degree) military assets are integrated
in one of the frameworks. Navies operate under exclusive national com-
mand, coordinate with others through SHADE, or are fully integrated in
the CMF, NATO or EU operations. Also whether navies primarily provide
escorts for nationally fl agged or owned ships or whether they contribute to
international escorts diverges among actors.
Diplomatic Regulatory Practices—New York and Other Capitals
Piracy is addressed in the frame of several interconnected arenas which are
primarily diplomatic and driven by regulatory concerns. The IMO (based
in London) is the traditional forum for handling issues of maritime secu-
rity. At the request of the IMO (as well as the WFP) in 2007 the UN Secu-
rity Council (UNSC) began to take actions, and since that time the main
forum for addressing piracy internationally has shifted to New York. Since
the successful adoption of Resolution 1816 in 2008 the UNSC has become
one of the main arenas to discuss, regulate and authorize the actions to be
taken. Since 2008 the UNSC debates piracy on a frequent basis, not the
least because Res. 1816 included a temporal limitation and needs to be
renewed. In the meantime the UNSC has passed seven resolutions and held
several debates that directly addressed piracy.
The resolutions have attempted to clarify the legal status of maritime
operations. Although the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea provides
for a su cient legal basis to address piracy and take military action, Soma-
lia has de facto never signed UNCLOS.45 This made the legal clari cation
by the UNSC necessary. Moreover, since the sovereign status of Somalia
remains problematic and it is unclear who legitimately represents the Soma-
lian state, and could hence authorize military action within its maritime
borders, a legal clarifi cation (and a further authorization and legitimization
for the Transitional Federal Government) was a precondition for wide inter-
national support to counter-piracy. The Resolutions provided an important
call for action to rally support and resources for counter-piracy.
Two sets of practices constitute the main practices inside the UNSC.
Firstly, the practice of justifi cation, and, secondly, the practice of legaliza-
tion or authorization of actions taken.46 Both practices are in themselves
complex bundles of global governance practice. The practice of legaliza-
tion and authorization draws on the legal status of the Security Council
in creating international law47 and its role in defi ning legal exceptions. The
112 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
naval missions in the Greater Gulf of Aden are authorized by consecutive
resolutions, starting with resolution 1816 (2008). Most importantly, the
resolutions authorize navies to address piracy by the use of force. Although
already UNCLOS in principle authorizes the use of force the resolutions
further authorize and specify conditions for that use of force. Resolution
1851 allows states to “undertake all appropriate measures,” including “but
[. . .] not limited to boarding, searching and seizing vessels engaged in or
suspect ed of engag ing in act s of piracy.”48 These measures are not limited to
the high sea. Naval forces can enter Somalia’s territorial waters and, after
consultation with the TFG, even stage onshore operations against pirates.
The second major bundle of practices, are practices of justifi cation.
Within the SC actors (mainly states but also international organizations)
justify in front of a public the actions they have taken or the actions they
propose to take in the future. In other words the SC is a major site for
deliberations about scripts of action and the comprehensiveness and level of
aggregation of the securitization of piracy.
While the UNSC (and the UN General Assembly, which also has held
several debates on piracy) provide the main o cial forums for addressing
piracy, the UN also hosts an informal forum, the Contact Group on Piracy
o the Coast of Somalia (the Contact Group). Created on January 14,
2009, and pursuant to Resolution 1851 (2008), it is the major and indeed
broadest new arrangement bringing actors together to deliberate securitiza-
tion.49 The Contact Group is a forum that brings together representatives of
nearly 60 countries and several international organizations (including the
EU, NATO, the African Union, the Arab League, and several departments
and agencies of the UN). The Contact Group meets in two formats. As a
plenary assembly it meets, rstly, in a bi-annual rhythm mainly in New
York. Secondly, fi ve working groups have been established which meet on
a more frequent and ad hoc basis in di erent capitals. The four working
groups concentrate on (1) military and operational coordination, (2) judi-
cial issues, (3) cooperation with the shipping industry, (4) public informa-
tion, and most recently, (5) fi nancial fl ows.
Two sets of practices in the Contact Group can be observed. They are
the practice of regulation by the development of technical procedures for
counter-piracy and the practice of shared fi nancing of land-based counter-
piracy practices.
In working group one, the (military) practices in the maritime arena
are discussed and planned. This working group can hence be treated as an
extended arm of the Gulf of Aden arena. Working group four, on public
information, so far has not produced a visible outcome, and it is di cult
to evaluate its practices. Meeting protocols suggest it is largely negotia-
tions about what a public awareness campaign in Somalia could look like.
Working group two has developed a tool kit of legal rules and procedures
that regulate how piracy should be embedded in national legislation and
which procedures should be used to prosecute piracy suspects. The core
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 113
contribution of working group three can be seen in regulating through the
Best M an age me nt Pra ctices to A void , Deter or D el ay Acts of Pira cy (BMP).
The working group o cially sanctioned and promoted the BMP, which
were primarily developed by the shipping industry, and draw on earlier ver-
sions of best practices (e.g., the International Ship and Port Facility Security
Code [ISPS]). The BMP outline standards of behaviour for shipping com-
panies, captains and crew that concern how to prevent a piracy attack and
what to do in the case of an attack or hijack. Such best practices are used
to proscribe the limits within which states and companies operate. They
present a more subtle technique of governing.50 The BMP as a governance
technique has gained further authority by the so-called New York declara-
tion. This declaration presents a formal agreement of states to comply with
the BMP. It was originally signed by four ag states (Panama, Marshall
Islands, Bahamas, Liberia). Flag states have started to disseminate the BMP
through education tools for crews, but also insurance companies increas-
ingly use the BMP to blacklist non-compliant companies.
Finally, the Contact Group has set up a multilateral trust fund to address
piracy by developmental means. The Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of
States Countering Piracy o the Coast of Somalia (the Trust Fund) was cre-
ated in January 2010 and so far has gathered roughly $3 million to fund proj-
ects that address piracy.51 The fund has 10 voting members—Djibouti, Egypt,
France, Germany, Greece, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, Norway, Somalia,
and the United States. It also has three non-voting UN members—the IMO,
the UNODC, and the UN Country Team for Somalia. It is presently chaired
by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political A airs (B. Lynn Pascoe) and
managed by UNODC. So far the trust fund is fi nancing six projects. Four of
them are capacity building programs in the judicial sectors in Kenya, the Sey-
chelles, and Somalia to support the prosecution of piracy suspects. One proj-
ect aims to help local media disseminate anti-piracy messages within Somalia.
Another project aims at developing alternative living perspectives for Somalia.
It has established an emergency funding facility that o sets the costs involved
in prosecuting piracy suspects, such as travel expenses for witnesses, court
equipment, and the transport of suspects. The lead implementing agency in
these projects is UNODC. The trust fund so far has six donors (Australia,
Canada, France, Germany, U.S., and the European Commission).
In summary, at the diplomatic arena, we nd the following bundles of
practices. The practices of justifi cation and authorization in the frame of the
UNSC as more basic types of practices, the practices of regulating through
a legal tool box and the BMP, as well as the practice of fi nancing through
the Trust Fund. Most of the practices are shared and mutual. None of these
practices is as clearly contested as some of the practices in the maritime
arena. However, it is observable that there is at least divergence in terms of
the practice of multilateral fi nancing which is signifi ed by the low numbers
of donors to the Trust Fund. There are also divergences in practices of jus-
tifi cation, which we’ll scrutinize more closely below.
114 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
Capacity Building and Prosecution Practices—Eastern Africa
By the Eastern African arena we largely refer to three sub-arenas; fi rst the
UN city of Nairobi, where capability programs are planned and managed
by international actors; second Mombasa, where pirates are handed over
to the Kenyan authorities and prosecuted by Kenyan courts; and third Dji-
bouti, which is the arena of IGAD and where regional integration mecha-
nisms are developed and managed.52 The Eastern African arena allows for
investigating a di erent set of practices, namely regional practices of pros-
ecution and capacity building.
Prosecuting practices are key practices in counter-piracy. Kenya and the
Seychelles are the preferred places for piracy trials and both have launched
regional centers for the prosecution of pirates. To briefl y review the Kenyan
pra ct ic e of p rosecutio n, upon a rr ival in Mom basa pira te s hav e to be br ought
to a judge within 24 hours. They are then transferred to the Shimo La Tewa
prison. They can also consult with lawyers who are either fi nanced by the
state that arrested the suspect or by UNODC and represent the suspects in
court. The trials take place in the 4th Chamber of Mombasa’s Central Law
Court, which has specialized in piracy in recent years. The sessions are
sometimes attended by representatives of international organizations and
the states that have transferred the suspects. During the trials, evidence
gathered by naval forces are presented and analyzed, including attack lad-
ders, weapons, ammunition, fuel, and speedboats. Also videos and pho-
tographs of attempted or actual attacks taken by surveillance equipment,
naval commanders, or tactical teams arresting pirates are important evi-
dence. Since in the Kenyan legal system eyewitnesses have to be present in
person, boarding team leaders, ship masters and captains of naval vessel
have to be fl own in. The proceedings are translated into Somali since the
suspected pirates usually do not speak English or Kiswahili.
Such practices are costly and indeed may undermine the capacities in the
maritime arena, since naval personnel need to appear in court, which often
implies that a vessel cannot patrol in the Gulf. Prosecution is not always
successful. Many suspects reject the charges brought against them and in
several instances the Kenyan authorities already had to set free piracy sus-
pects because of a lack of evidence. Questions also remain as to whether
such trials comply with general legal and human rights standards.53
Capacity building practices constitute a second bundle of practices in
the East African arena. There is an increased focus on strengthening the
capacities of regional states to counter-piracy. UNODC is a major agency
implementing projects that invest in the judicial sector, including the con-
struction, refurbishment and renovation of prisons in Mombasa as well
as in the Somali regional states of Puntland and Somaliland. This also
includes improving prison management and the training of prison guards.
In the long run UNODC envisions that pirates will be transferred back to
Somalia to serve their terms. It also assists in reviewing and developing
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 115
legislation in Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Somalia and
recommends legal changes to facilitate the prosecution of pirates. Pros-
ecutors and investigators are provided with information technology and
logistics, while judges and prosecutors are trained in “evidence handover
routines and military organizations and the Law of the Sea.”54 Piracy tri-
als are supported through the provision of interpreters and lawyers for
suspected pirates to maintain international and human rights standards.
UNODC also facilitates and helps to transfer witnesses to piracy trials.
Police forces and maritime authorities are supported in the fi eld investiga-
tion, particularly in the handling of evidence and criminal analyses. Tech-
nical support, for instance through the installation of exhibition rooms
or the provision of fi ngerprint systems through Interpol, have also been
made available. The development and sharing of regional expertise is a
further part of this bundle.
Initiatives are also planned to strengthen regional cooperation among
states in East Africa and the Greater Gulf of Aden region. In its headquar-
ters in Djibouti IGAD is currently drawing an integrated counter-piracy
strategy. In the “Kampala Process” technical experts from regional Somali
states and the Transitional Federal Government come together and meet
regularly under the auspices of the UN to deliberate about maritime security
concerns. In this context a Somali contact group on piracy has already been
established. The most ambitious initiative has been launched at the IMO
headed Djibouti meeting in 2009, where regional states from East Africa
and the Arabian Peninsula have agreed to cooperate on a range of maritime
and piracy related issues, including prosecution and joint maritime opera-
tions. In particular, the Djibouti Code of Conduct envisions the creation of
a r egion al mari time tra ining c ente r in Djibouti to train regional coastguards
and to promote the implementation of the Code. Moreover, this entails the
establishment of piracy information centers in Kenya, Yemen, and Tanza-
nia to gather data and information on piracy, to facilitate the exchange of
information within the region, and to increase the planning capacities of
regional states, international organizations, and naval missions to counter-
piracy. The Djibouti Code of Conduct has since been signed by 17 East
African and Arabian states. E orts are also underway to train regional
coastguards and to strengthen their capacities to monitor regional waters,
to protect merchant shipping, and to arrest and detain pirates.
To sum up, the East African arena is characterized by prosecution
and capacity building practices. However, ruptures and disagreement
exist with regard to how naval forces (and the shipping industry) have
to contribute to piracy trials and whether it distracts them from the task
of protecting commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden. Moreover, while
Kenya and the Seychelles agree that pirates must be held accountable,
they are not prepared to become the international community’s “dump-
ing ground” for suspected pirates. Capacity building practices so far
seem to be smoother and less confl ictual.
116 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
Our brief presentation of the results of our praxiographic analysis detailed
the diverse sets of practices at play in three arenas. We can identify pre-
venting and reacting as the main military practices; justifying, authorizing,
regulating, and fi nancing as the main diplomatic practices, and transferred
prosecuting and capacity building as the main developmental practices. As
we attempted to highlight, many of these practices are mutually shared by
all or at least the majority of participants in counter-piracy. Yet, some of the
practices are also more controversial, such as the use of force for recaptur-
ing vessels, or fi nancing through the Trust Fund. Our discussion was lim-
ited to three arenas and there are bundles of other practices that we thereby
have neglected. Those include the activities on Somali territory, practices
of the shipping community and insurance companies, ransom negotiations,
or criminal investigations on piracy nance and logistics. Keeping these
caveats in mind, our next step is to interpret the results in the light of the
scenarios. We draw on our analysis and discuss additional examples.
Stories of Counter-Piracy Governance
How do these practices fi t into our theoretical perspectives? In this section
we advance three stories of how the global governance of piracy is develop-
ing. Our fi rst story embraces an alliance scenario.
Scenario 1: The Counter-Piracy Arrangement as Alliance
Three features are crucial for describing a governance arrangement as an
alliance: materialist calculations as the basis of cooperation; the impor-
tance of a national security framing; and the temporal, instrumental char-
acter of a governance arrangement.
If we turn to the maritime arena we see several mechanisms at play that
point to an alliance formation. At least the following four observations
can be made. First, countries that are a ected the most by Somali piracy
contribute the major parts to military action in the arena. Of the 30 states
with the highest shares in global merchandise trade, 22 have a naval pres-
ence in the Gulf of Aden. Moreover, they also control more than 80 percent
of global shipping fl eets.55 Second, many countries such as Iran, Japan, and
India do not participate in the cooperation frameworks such as the IRTC,
but primarily engage in convoy protection of ships sailing under their fl ag
or being in the property of a national company. Third, if we investigate the
practice of re-capturing used by some states, so far there has been willing-
ness only to use force to liberate vessels sailing under their own fl ag or that
are the property of a country national. Fourth, countries diverge in their
practice regarding the use of force. The fact that several states engage in the
practice of releasing pirates instead of transferring them for prosecution,
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 117
even if there is su cient evidence, points to the lack of willingness to com-
ply with internationalized rules to prosecute pirates. These four observa-
tions point to the importance of materialist calculations and the lack (or
unsuccessful character) of joint inter-national scripts of action.
If we turn to the diplomatic arena, similar conclusions can be reached.
Firstly, while states have agreed on common standards, there is a lack of
willingness to fi nance activities with a mid-term perspective through a
multilateral mechanism, that is, the Trust Fund. Secondly, if we turn to
the practices of justifi cation and authorization, we can observe the impor-
tance of national framings of the piracy problem. Participants in the SC,
for instance, recurrently highlight that the counter-piracy solutions do not
constitute customary law, which would change the principles established
by UNCLOS and which are organized by the principle of national sov-
ereignty. Some states even directly employ a language of national sover-
eignty. For instance, a representative of Japan pointed out in a December
2008 SC debate:
As a maritime State and a trading nation, Japan attaches great impor-
tance to ensuring the safety of marine navigation and security at sea,
including through anti-piracy measures. Clearly, these matters are
directly linked to the survival and prosperity of our country. The
issue of piracy is both a challenge for the international community
and a matter related to the protection of the lives and assets of our
own citizens.56
Such a position highlights clearly the category of national security as it
argues what is at stake is national survival and the property and lives of
national citizens.
The alliance character of current governance arrangement gains fur-
ther importance if we consider temporality. The SC resolutions have to be
renewed annually; the majority of arrangements remain ad hoc and unof-
cial, rather than fully institutionalized and regulated. This indicates a
background assumption that piracy is not a permanent problem that needs
to be addressed through long term institutional arrangements, but can be
addressed in a short-term time span, after which current arrangements
will no longer be necessary. In other words, once the rate of Somali piracy
incidents drops signifi cantly, actors will stop their collaborative activities
and no major long-term consequences, structural e ects, or re-thinking of
maritime space is likely to occur.
Scenario 2: The Formation of Security Communities
Security communities point to more enduring patterns of collaboration
among actors. Such a perspective foregrounds that if we can identify shared
practices of coping with piracy and shared representations that refer to some
118 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
sort of broader collective than the nation state, then a community is formed.
Our analysis has highlighted that in the maritime arena as well as in the
diplomatic arena a fairly high homogeneity of practice can be identifi ed.
To be sure, it cannot be said that all actors follow the same scripts of
action. The divergence of practices such as releasing piracy suspects, re-
capturing ships, or multilateral fi nancing of long-term capability programs,
however, also points out that communities have not reached a high level of
homogeneity even among states that claim to be participating. That said,
we still can identify signifi cant shared practices in the three arenas dis-
cussed earlier. This includes, for instance, the IRTC, the role of MSC-HOA
and SHADE in planning and organization, the widely shared practices of
prosecuting piracy, the agreement on a legal toolbox, and the BMP as the
shared behavioral standard for states and companies, as well as the grow-
ing support for capacity building in the Eastern African arena. To some
degree these shared practices occur within existing security communities
that predate the emergence of piracy o the coast of Somalia, such as the
EU, NATO, and within the CMF counter-piracy task force. Yet, states that
are not members of those pre-existing communities also align themselves
to the practices and standards of multilateral counter-piracy cooperation.
These include fl ag states such as Panama, as well as G20 states such as
China. China participates in (and co-chairs) SHADE.
The collectives constructed by the current governance arrangements in
securitization are also noteworthy. If we turn again to the debates in the
SC arena, we can identify a large array of referent objects in the securiti-
zation of piracy that go beyond national ones. To provide some instances
from SC and GA debates: “the safety of maritime navigation, international
trade” (Croatia); “a great threat to international navigation, maritime trade
and security at sea” (China); “threat to commerce, security and, perhaps
most importantly, to the principle of freedom of navigation of the seas”
(Secretary General); “regional security and, subsequently, on the global
economy and international security” (Bosnia and Herzegovina); “threaten-
ing regional and global peace and security” (African Union); “challenge to
global trade and maritime security” (Nigeria); “damage to the world econ-
omy” (Russia); “piracy o the coast of Somalia threatens us all” (U.S.); “a
threat to international navigation and trade and [it] obstruct[s] humanitar-
ian access” (Lebanon). 57 All of these are instances of references to collec-
tives that go beyond the nation state, and they are raised by representatives
from di erent regions, civilizations, and religions.
Hence, both observations (shared practices and the use of global/uni-
versal referents) point us to community formation processes whereby a
larger securitization is manufactured that goes beyond alliance patterns.
This might indeed carry the potential for securitization to go beyond the
immediate Somali problem and lead to a rethinking of maritime security in
the long run. Whether that community would be regional or global is as yet
unclear. A cosmopolitan form of community would lead us to expect that
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 119
more enduring forms of securitization are institutionalized, for instance
in turning the Contact Group into a more institutionalized form or even
an international organization. On the other hand, the regional commu-
nity scenario projects a securitization of piracy where each region handles
piracy in its own right. The Djibouti process is an important development
in this regard. The emphasis of the African Union on “regional and global
security” suggests an emphasis on the regional level, as does the fact that
NATO and the EU are the most homogenous collectives thus far.
Scenario 3: An Ongoing Struggle and Overlap of Di erent Scripts,
Representations, Practices, and Regulatory Frameworks
While there is evidence for alliance and security community formation,
we also need to consider a third scenario, namely the idea that both of
our fi rst two scenarios interplay. This is more than a residual category.
Instead, this situation is characterized by multiplicity, overlap and an
ongoing struggle between various securitizations. A messier contentious
picture evolves. In such a scenario, we neither assume that a coherent
whole (either global or regional) is manufactured, but that several wholes
(e.g., functional, regional, national ones) are produced which overlap and
only partially encompass the others. At the same time, the global gover-
nance arrangement is not understood as essentially atomized and orga-
nized only by unit interactions. Several of our observations feed into such
a scenario.
First, several states engage in activities (even to a contradictory degree)
which are geared towards multilateral or even global solutions on the one
hand, but on the other favor national strategies. Supporting the establish-
ment of a trust fund but not donating to it, or the only partial willingness
to participate in mechanisms such as SHADE or the IRTC while lacking
capabilities to fully protect national convoys, provide such instances. Such
contradiction and overlap is also given in SC debate. One instance is the
already cited phrase from Japan. Indeed, Japan did not only refer to the
“lives and assets of its own citizens,” but also to the “international com-
munity.” The governmental representative did not only stress that Japan’s
interest are at stake, but also that “those carrying out the incidents of piracy
and armed robbery at sea in this region, [. . .] are quite literally common
enemies of the human race—hostes humani generisin today’s world.58
Several further contributions to SC debates make similar moves. Con-
sider for instance the following quote from the Croatian representative:
[Somali piracy is a] problem that links various key aspects of the work
of the United Nations, from humanitarian elements to the impact this
problem has on international trade, and from the overall situation in
one of the most troubled spots in Africa to the consequences that this
instability might have on the regional and global levels.59
120 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
This reference is interesting for the ways it recognizes the interlinkage
between various problems and collectives. In summary, this third scenario
suggests that the counter-piracy governance arrangement is shaped now
and will be in the future by the overlap of di erent degrees and mechanisms
and that there is an ongoing struggle between di erent securitizations and
their reach. Ultimately, there is no sign that any of the securitizations will
achieve dominance.
All three stories allow us to see di erent realities. The alliance perspective
foregrounds the importance of materialist interest-based considerations,
and highlights that arrangements might be temporally limited and indeed
do not have any larger-scale e ects. The likelihood of such a scenario
will in essence depend on the resilience of Somali piracy groups to inter-
national activities. A security community foregrounds the importance of
shared practices and the collectives constructed in such practices. Several
referent objects are constructed in the process of securitizing piracy and
indeed there might be prospects that such experience will lead to more
enduring patterns of communities on either a cosmopolitan or regional
scale. The likelihood of such formation will in essence rely on whether one
securitization will crystallize and whether actors (faced with the relative
failure of current measures) manage to align their behavior either region-
ally or globally. A third perspective highlights the simultaneous character
of di erent securitizations and the relative persistence of several patterns
of practice and collective construction. The likelihood of such a scenario
depends on whether scripts will continue to fail to become hegemonous in
counter-piracy, and whether or not pirates will be resilient and continue
their activities.
This chapter has interrogated the story of international cooperation in
counter-piracy as a story of the construction of a global security gover-
nance arrangement. When we investigate counter-piracy practice, we
observe a global security governance arrangement under construction. To
understand what characterizes the arrangement and how its future might
look we drew on the results of a praxiographic analysis. A praxiographic
analysis takes as the main unit of analysis practice, that is, collective pat-
terns of action which entail speech and doings. We analyzed the contem-
porary practices of addressing piracy along the spectrum of three arenas
signi cant in the global fi ght against piracy (the maritime space of the Gulf
of Aden, New York, and Eastern Africa). Based on the insights delivered by
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 121
such an analysis we carried out what can be called an “informed specula-
tion” about the future of the arrangement. Crucial for this speculation was
the idea of macrosecuritization, which gives us an idea of the spectrum
of potential e ects of counter-piracy. Within this spectrum we developed
di erent stories of the counter-piracy arrangement and suggested that it
can be interpreted as an interest based, temporary “alliance” as a forming
security community of cosmopolitan or regional scale, or as a messier
merger between the two. These scenarios not only give us a guideline for
what to further investigate as the governance of counter-piracy unfolds,
it also gives us a sense of the directions in which counter-piracy might be
developing. Finally, the eclectic, praxiographic analytical framework out-
lined in this chapter will prove to be a useful toolbox for studying other
governance arrangements, notably those that are under construction.
1. Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the editors of this volume, Sascha
Werthes, Joseph McKay, Bibi Van Ginkel, Douglas Guilfoyle, the partici-
pants in the workshop this volume draws on, as well as the participants in
the piracy studies panels at the 2011 Conference of the International Stud-
ies Association. Research for this study has benefi tted from a grant by the
University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Leiden, and the Leverhulme
Trust Fund.
2. Jack A. Gottschalk and Brian P. Flanagan, Jolly Roger with an Uzi: the Rise
and Threat of Modern Piracy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000),
xiii, emphasis added.
3. Cp. UN Doc. A/59/565.2004.
4. UN Security Council, Security Council Resolution 1816 (2008) [On Acts
of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Vessels in Territorial Waters and
The High Seas o the Coast of Somalia], June 2, 2008, S/RES/1816 (2008),; UN Security Coun-
cil, Security Council Resolution 1838 (2008) [On Acts of Piracy and Armed
Robbery Against Vessels in Territorial Waters and the High Seas o the
Coast of Somalia], October 7, 2008, S/R ES/1838 (2008), http://www.unhcr.
org/refworld/docid/48ef651f2.html; UN Security Council, Security Council
Resolution 1846 (2008) [On Repressing Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery
at Sea o the Coast of Somalia], December 2, 2008, S/RES/1846 (2008),; UN Security Coun-
cil, Security Council Resolution 1851 (20 08) [On Fight Against Piracy and
Armed Robbery at Sea o the Coast of Somalia], December 16, 2008, S/
RES/1851 (2008),;
UN Security Council, Security Council Resolution 1897 (2009) [On Acts
of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Vessels in the Waters o the Coast
of Somalia], November 30, 2009, S/RES/1897 (2009), http://www.unhcr.
org/refworld/docid/4b18c 1d.html; UN Security Council, Security Council
Resolution 1918 (2010) [On Acts of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against
Vessels in the Waters o the Coast of Somalia], April 27, 2010, S/RES/1918
(2010),; UN Secu-
rity Council, Security Council Resolution 1976 (2011) [On Acts of Piracy
and Armed Robbery at Sea o the Coast of Somalia], April 11, 2011, S/
RE S/1976(2011), http://ww /docid/4dabfa182.htm l. For
122 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
rst assessment of the processes at the U N, see Lawrence Azubuike, “Inter-
national Law Regime Against Piracy,Annual Survey of International and
Comparative Law no. 15 (2009): 43–59, James Kraska and Brian Wilson,
“The Global Maritime Partnership and Somali Piracy,” Defense & Security
Analysis 25, no. 3 (2009), Christian Bueger, Constructing Security Publics:
The re-securitization of Maritime Piracy, 1980–2008 (Mimeo, 2011) avail-
able upon request.
5. Cp. European Council (2008) and Basil Germond and Michael Smith, “Re-
Thinking European Security Interests and the ESDP: Explaining the EU’s
Anti-Piracy Operation,” Contemporary Security Policy 30, no. 3 (2009):
6. For early assessments, see Paul Musili Wambua, “Enhancing Regional
Maritime Cooperation in Africa: The Planned End State,” African Security
Review 18 no. 3 (2009): 45–59, Lars Bangert Struwe, For a Greater Horn of
Africa Sea Patrol (Danish Institute for Military Studies, 2009): 1-44.
7. Rudra Sil and Peter J. Katzenstein, Beyond Paradigms. Analytical Eclecti-
cism in the Study of World Politics (Houndmills, Basingstoke/New York:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
8. Sil and Katzenstein, Beyond Paradigms. Analytical Eclecticism in the Study
of World Politics, 3.
9. Barry Buzan, Ole Wæver, and Jaap de Wilde, Security: A New Framework
for Analysis (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998).
10. Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constel-
lations: Reconsidering Scale in Securitisation Theory,Review of Interna-
tional Studies 35, no. 2 (2009).
11. Compare the early but still valid critique of Derek Johnson and Erika Pladdet,
An Overview of Current Concerns in Piracy Studies and New Directions for
Research,” Paper presented at the People and the Sea II: Confl icts,Threats and
Opportunities, at the International Institute for Asian Studies and the Centre
for Maritime Research, Amsterdam, 1 August 2003. An overview of the recent
eld is provided in Christian Bueger, “Piracy Studies: Academic Responses to
the Return of a Threat,” Cooperation and Con ict, (2012 forthcoming).
12. Stig Jarle Hansen, Piracy in the Greater Gulf of Aden. Myths, Misconception
and Remedies (Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research,
13. Donna Nincic, “State Failure and the Re-Emergence of Maritime Piracy.”
Paper presented at the 49th Annual Convention of the International Studies
Association, San Francisco, CA, March 26–29, 2008; Justin V. Hastings,
“Geographies of State Failure and Sophistication in Maritime Piracy Hijack-
ings,Political Geography 28, no. 4 (2009): 213–223.
14. Bueger, Constructing Security Publics. The Re-securitization of Maritime
Piracy, 1980–2008.
15. Buzan and Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Recon-
sidering Scale in Securitisation Theory.
16. Barry Buzan, “Will the ‘Global War on Terrorism’ be the New Cold War?”
International A airs 82, no. 6 (2006): 1101–1118.
17. Ibid., 1101.
18. Ibid., 1102.
19. Buzan and Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Recon-
sidering Scale in Securitisation Theory.
20. Kraska and Wilson, “The Global Maritime Partnership and Somali Piracy”.
21. “Overview of an Informal Plenary Meeting by the General Assembly on
International Maritime Piracy, last modi ed May 14, 2010, http://www., 5.
Security Communities, Alliances, and Macrosecuritization 123
22. Ibid.
23. Compare UNSC Res. 2018 (2011).
24. Buzan and Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Recon-
sidering Scale in Securitisation Theory.
25. As outlined by Buzan, Wæver, and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for
Analysis; Ole Wæver, “Securitization and Desecuritization,” in On Security,
ed. Ronnie D Lipschutz (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995). Here
we rephrase securitization theory in slightly di erent terms. Our interpretation
of securitization clearly di ers from others. We do not here or in the following
engaged in any lengthy justifi cation for this interpretation of securitization.
26. Vincent Pouliot, “The Logic of Practicality: A Theory of Practice of Secu-
rity Communities,International Organization 62 no. 2 (2008): 257–288;
Emanuel Adler and Patricia Greve, “When Security Community Meets Bal-
ance of Power: Overlapping Regional Mechanisms of Security Governance,”
Review of International Studies 35 no. 1 (2009): 59–84; Christian Bueger
and Frank Gadinger, “Praktisch Gedacht! Praxistheoretischer Konstruktiv-
ismus in den Internationalen Beziehungen,” Zeitschrift für Internationale
Beziehungen 15, no. 2 (2008): 273–302.
27. Buzan and Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Recon-
sidering Scale in Securitisation Theory,” 256.
28. Ibid., 257.
29. Eugene Kontorovich, “The Piracy Analogy: Modern Universal Jurisdiction’s
Hollow Foundation,Harvard International Law Journal 45, no. 1 (2004);
Gould in this volume.
30. Michael N. Barnett and Jack S. Levy, “Domestic Sources of Alliances and
Alignments: The Case of Egypt, 1962–1973,” International Organization
45, no. 3 (1991): 370.
31. Glenn H. Snyder, Alliance Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), 4.
32. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and
Peace (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993 [1948]), 197.
33. T.V. Paul, “The Enduring Axioms of Balance of Power Theory,” in Balance
of Power Revisited: Theory and Practice in the Twenty First Century, ed.,
T.V. Paul, James J. Wirtz, and Michel Fortmann (Stanford: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 2004), 3.
34. Ibid., 3.
35. Adler and Greve, “When Security Community Meets Balance of Power:
Overlapping Regional Mechanisms of Security Governance,” 68.
36. Buzan and Wæver, “Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Recon-
sidering Scale in Securitisation Theory,” 256.
37. Adler and Greve, “When Security Community Meets Balance of Power:
Overlapping Regional Mechanisms of Security Governance,” 71.
38. Ibid., 70.
39. Ibid., 71.
40. Adler (2008); Adler and Greve, “When Security Community Meets Bal-
ance of Power: Overlapping Regional Mechanisms of Security Governance,
59–84; Vincent Pouliot, “Pacifi cation without Collective Identifi cation: Rus-
sia and the Transatlantic Security Community in the Post-Cold War Era, ”
Journal of Peace Research 44 no. 5 (2007): 603–620; Pouliot, “The Logic of
Practicality: A Theory of Practice of Security Communities,” 257–288.
41. Kontorovich, “The Piracy Analogy: Modern Universal Jurisdiction’s Hollow
Foundation,” 183–237.
42. Janice A. Thomson, Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building
and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1994).
124 Christian Bueger and Jan Stockbruegger
43. Field research for the study was conducted in Nairobi and Mombasa in
September 2010 and June to November 2011, and in London from May to
November 2011.
44. Bueger, “Organizational Responses to Piracy: Disentangling the Organiza-
tional Field.
45. Tullio Treves, “Piracy, Law of the Sea, and Use of Force: Developments O
the Coast of Somalia,” European Journal of International Law 20, no. 2
(2009): 399414.
46. A third practice we do not further expand here is the practice of steering the
UN machinery.
47. Stefan Talmon, “The Security Council as World Legislature,” American
Journal of International Law 99, no. 1 (2005): 175–193.
48. UN Security Council, Security Council Resolution 1851 (2008) [On Fight
Against Piracy and Armed Robbery at Sea o the Coast of Somalia], para. 6.
49. Ibid.
50. Cp. the growi ng body of literature on globa l governmentalit y, s ee Tore Foug ner,
“Neoliberal Governance of States: The Role of Competitiveness Indexing and
Country Benchmarking,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 37
no. 2 (2008): 303–326; Hans-Martin Jaeger, “UN Reform, Biopolitics and
Global Governmentality,” International Theory 2 no. 1 (2010): 50–86.
51. Cp. UN News Service. UN Trust Fund Backs Projects in Fight Against
Piracy O Somali Coast, April 23, 2010,
story.asp?NewsID=34472. For a detailed analysis of the work of UNODC
see Christian Knuppertz, “The Organizational Field of Counter-piracy Pol-
icy With a Case Study on the Specifi c Role of UNODC,” Bachelor Thesis,
Department of Political Science, University of Duisburg-Essen.
52. There are also a signifi cant number of other regional arenas, such as the
African Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, andMauritius, the Seychelles,
Somaliland, Puntland, Mogadishu, and the rest of Somalia.
53. Cp. Deborah Osiro, “Somali Pirates Have Rights Too. Judicial Consequences
and Human Rights Concerns,” (working paper, Institute for Security Stud-
ies, 2011), 224.
54. “UNODC and Piracy,” United Nations O ce on Drugs and Crime, http://
55. For the data see UNCTAD, Review of Maritime Transport 2010, (United
Nations: New York, 2010), 70, 41.
56. Cp. UN Security Council, Meeting Record 6046, December 16, 2008,
S/PV.6046 (2008) NDOC /PRO/N08/
652/19/PDF/N0865219.pdf?OpenElement, emphasis added.
57. All quoted after U N Security Council, Meeting Record 6046.
58. UN Security Council, Meeting Record 6046, emphasis added.
59. Ibid.
... but also by the middle-level securitizations becoming disaffected with, or pulling away from, subordination to the higher level one" (Ibid). Owing to its large-scale, complex, and fairly unstable configuration, macrosecuritizations have only been recognized in a handful of cases: the Cold War (Buzan and Waever 2009), piracy (Bueger and Stockbruegger 2013), and the GWoT (Romaniuk and Webb 2015). Lo and Thomas (2018) added AMR as another case of macrosecuritization, based on the extent to which AMR responses fulfill the basic format of macrosecuritization and have been securitized at the global level. ...
Full-text available
The global spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an existential threat to humanity, one that has generated a macrosecuritizing response by states and international organizations. Since the turn of the century, China has been a source of numerous infectious disease outbreaks. It is also the origin of the MCR-1 gene, which confers resistance to colistin, a “last-line” antibiotic deployed against multidrug-resistant infections. With the largest population in the world, coupled with its status as a major supplier of agricultural produce, evaluating Chinese responses to AMR is critical to understanding the efficacy of the global response. Drawing on knowledge of both Chinese politics and health security, this article analyzes how Chinese actors have responded to the threat in the public and animal health sectors as well as the domestic and international implications of these responses. Based on interviews with key Chinese and international officials, scientists, and public health specialists, as well as farmers and consumers, we argue that the securitization of AMR in China is currently more concerned with domestic policy and resource competition than with addressing the existential health threat. Without a greater alignment of AMR strategies within China, macrosecuritizing efforts to address the threat globally cannot succeed.
... but also by the middle-level securitizations becoming disaffected with, or pulling away from, subordination to the higher level one" (Ibid). Owing to its large-scale, complex, and fairly unstable configuration, macrosecuritizations have only been recognized in a handful of cases: the Cold War (Buzan and Waever 2009), piracy (Bueger and Stockbruegger 2013), and the GWoT (Romaniuk and Webb 2015). Lo and Thomas (2018) added AMR as another case of macrosecuritization, based on the extent to which AMR responses fulfill the basic format of macrosecuritization and have been securitized at the global level. ...
Full-text available
The global spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an existential threat to humanity, one that has generated a macrosecuritizing response by states and international organizations. Since the turn of the century, China has been a source of numerous infectious disease outbreaks. It is also the origin of the MCR-1 gene, which confers resistance to colistin, a "last-line" antibiotic deployed against multidrug-resistant infections. With the largest population in the world, coupled with its status as a major supplier of agricultural produce, evaluating Chinese responses to AMR is critical to understanding the efficacy of the global response. Drawing on knowledge of both Chinese politics and health security, this article analyzes how Chinese actors have responded to the threat in the public and animal health sectors as well as the domestic and international implications of these responses. Based on interviews with key Chinese and international officials, scientists, and public health specialists , as well as farmers and consumers, we argue that the securitization of AMR in China is currently more concerned with domestic policy and resource competition than with addressing the existential health threat. Without a greater alignment of AMR strategies within China, macrosecuritizing efforts to address the threat globally cannot succeed.
... The UN's counter-piracy resolutions also authorized an international armada consisting of over thirty states operating under three distinct naval coalitions to police Somalia's coastal waters against the newfangled pirates (Bueger and Stockenbrugger 2012). Along with conducting naval and aerial surveillance, the international counter-piracy coalition sought to create a heavily patrolled transit corridor through the Red Sea. ...
From 2007–2012, a dramatic upsurge in maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia captivated global attention. Over three hundred merchant vessels and some three thousand seafarers were held hostage with ransom amounts ranging from $200,000 to $10 million being paid to release these ships. Somali piracy operated exclusively on a kidnap-and-ransom model with crew, cargo, and ship held captive until a ransom was secured. Ransom, unlike theft or seizure, requires willing parties and systems of exchange. Ransom economies, therefore, bring together disparate actors and make visible the centrality of protection as a mode of accumulation and jurisdiction. As an analytic, this article proposes an anthropology of protection to undercut divides between legality and illegality, trade and finance, piracy and counter piracy. It argues that protection is key to apprehending processes of mobility and interruption central to global capitalism.
... 3. For a detailed discussion of each of these practices and on how far the global field is composed of them, see Bueger and Stockbruegger (2013) and Bueger (2013a). 4. For a discussion of the CGPCS, see Tardy (2014). ...
... The structure is vulnerable to dissolution not just by the desecuritization of the macro-level threat (or referent object) but also by the middle-level securitizations becoming disaffected with, or pulling away from, subordination to the higher level one (Ibid). Owing to its large-scale, intricate, and relatively unstable structure, macrosecuritizations have only been identified in a few cases: the Cold War (Buzan and Waever 2009), piracy (Bueger and Stockbruegger 2013) and the GWoT (Romaniuk and Webb 2015). However, we would add AMR as another case of macrosecuritization, based on the extent to which AMR responses fulfil the basic format of macrosecuritization and has been securitised at the global level; albeit somewhat imperfectly. ...
Full-text available
This article has two objectives. Drawing on the framework provided by macrosecuritization, this article first explores global responses to AMR. Secondly, in shifting the analytical lens to Asia, the article then evaluates how successful this process has been in a regional context. Considering the two objectives, two interrelated arguments are proposed. First, even though AMR can be considered a quintessential and successful macrosecuritization case at the global level, within Asia the operationalisation of AMR strategies is limited by power and resource politics within the states. Second, the anthropocentric nature of health security is limited when it comes to address the threat posed by AMR. Overcoming this limitation requires a One Health approach. However, the successful articulation of this approach has proven challenging in Asia where middle-level actors pull away from the process in pursuit of other agendas. As a result, while macrosecuritization provides a useful tool for understanding how AMR and similar health threats are addressed, it is necessary to understand the local realities within which the process is embedded.
... As shown in other works, such a reinterpretation also allows for integrating insights from securitisation theory into security community theory. Shared practices of turning an issue into a threat (securitisation) and shared securitisations can be seen as forming a core part of the repertoire of a security community (Bueger 2013b;Bueger and Stockbruegger 2012). Niklas Bremberg (2015) demonstrated how shared securitisation practices coupled with cooperative tools such as the institutionalisation of multilateral venues, transgovernmental networks or joint crisis management infrastructures, provide an understanding of how security communities spread their practices and hence grow at their boundaries. ...
This chapter continues our review of the main approaches. We discuss three of them: the focus on narratives, actor-network theory and pragmatic sociology. Narrative approaches, actor-network theory, and pragmatic sociology have not always been included in the body of practice theoretical thought, although as we demonstrate, they are an essential part of it. The chapter starts with an approach that puts emphasis on narrative as the concept that binds practice across time and space. Narratives can be understood as configuration devices by which actors make sense of the world and order it through storytelling practices. Actor-network theory foregrounds the practices of making relations as well as the importance of non-human, or material aspects. Drawing on the works of theorists such as Latour, Law, or Callon, scholars emphasise performativity and contingency. For them, international politics is a world continually in the making that requires significant effort and maintenance work. Our final approach is pragmatic sociology, following the work of Boltanski, Chiapello and Thévenot. This pragmatic approach is particularly interesting in the way that it considers issues such as creative capacity, the uncertainty of situations, and the fragile notion of order.
... As shown in other works, such a reinterpretation also allows for integrating insights from securitisation theory into security community theory. Shared practices of turning an issue into a threat (securitisation) and shared securitisations can be seen as forming a core part of the repertoire of a security community (Bueger 2013b;Bueger and Stockbruegger 2012). Niklas Bremberg (2015) demonstrated how shared securitisation practices coupled with cooperative tools such as the institutionalisation of multilateral venues, transgovernmental networks or joint crisis management infrastructures, provide an understanding of how security communities spread their practices and hence grow at their boundaries. ...
This chapter provides an overview of what practice theory is and what we can do with it. Practice theory has been introduced across the social sciences and is quite heterogeneous; rather than being a theory in the conventional sense, it is an intellectual space (a trading zone) in which different scholars ‘trade’ ideas on how to study practices. We situate practice-theoretical thinking in the wider landscape of social theory and philosophy, and introduce a map that contrasts it with other social theories, such as rational choice, or discourse theory. Practice theory differs from cultural theories that foreground either the mind and beliefs or discourses and structures of meaning. This also provides us with a map for understanding how IPT relates to other theoretical developments in IR, such as constructivism. Finally, we argue that practice theory entails a number of commitments of how to think about and perform social science, and about the core characteristics of international politics. We summarise these commitments under the concepts of process, knowledge, learning, materiality, multiplicity, performativity and empiricity.
... As shown in other works, such a reinterpretation also allows for integrating insights from securitisation theory into security community theory. Shared practices of turning an issue into a threat (securitisation) and shared securitisations can be seen as forming a core part of the repertoire of a security community (Bueger 2013b;Bueger and Stockbruegger 2012). Niklas Bremberg (2015) demonstrated how shared securitisation practices coupled with cooperative tools such as the institutionalisation of multilateral venues, transgovernmental networks or joint crisis management infrastructures, provide an understanding of how security communities spread their practices and hence grow at their boundaries. ...
We consider how the main approaches of IPT relate to one another and how their relationship spurs exciting new questions for future research. To explore these relations, we focus on a set of conceptual challenges. These challenges present issues that are contentious, present dilemmas or paradoxes and over which IPT scholars take differing positions. These must be appreciated as creative tensions; rather than playing the approaches against each other, we argue that their tensions provide fruitful heuristics for advancing IPT. The challenges are major ontological puzzles. We begin with a discussion of the tension between an understanding of practice as a social regularity and as a fluid entity. This leads us to the question of how far IPT can make statements on the contingency and change of practical configurations. Next, we address the issue of how to conceptualise the scale and size of practice. This is largely a question of (ontological) prioritisation, which is fundamental given the interest of IPT in the international and the global. We proceed with a reflection on different standpoints towards the normativity of practice, how the material dimension of practices (bodies, technology, artefacts) is prioritised, and how to conceptualise power and critique.
... As shown in other works, such a reinterpretation also allows for integrating insights from securitisation theory into security community theory. Shared practices of turning an issue into a threat (securitisation) and shared securitisations can be seen as forming a core part of the repertoire of a security community (Bueger 2013b;Bueger and Stockbruegger 2012). Niklas Bremberg (2015) demonstrated how shared securitisation practices coupled with cooperative tools such as the institutionalisation of multilateral venues, transgovernmental networks or joint crisis management infrastructures, provide an understanding of how security communities spread their practices and hence grow at their boundaries. ...
Full-text available
This is the first of two chapters that introduce seven approaches of international practice theory. We discuss four approaches, that have their origins in the writing of a major intellectual figure: Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Foucault, Etienne Wenger, and Theodore Schatzki. We provide a concise introduction to the conceptual vocabulary and strategies for the study of practice outlined for each of these approaches, and discuss ways of using them in IR. Together, they give us a theoretical repertoire for the study of practice. We consider Bourdieusian research, which has been most directly associated with the label of practice theory, and continue in discussing the work of Foucault by introducing his major concepts, such as governmentality. Although Foucault’s body of work is often not directly associated with the term practice theory, our discussion intends to correct this misunderstanding in arguing that he is first and foremost a practice theoretical thinker who allows us to conceptualise and study historical practices and configurations of very wide scope. Our third approach, community of practice, foregrounds the importance of community structures and learning processes. Finally, we turn to Theodore Schatzki, whose definitions have become quite influential in the debate, and review his practice theoretical outline.
The central themes that this chapter seeks to put forward revolve around what may be additional narratives that recast ASEAN’s response to the concerns of the SCS, beyond the maritime dispute. The first of these focuses on the argument that the sovereignty issues of the SCS dispute are underlined by relatively less sensitive and functional maritime security issues. These are highlighted by a broadened definition of securitization, which looks beyond the transformation of non security concerns to national security issues, through emergency measures. Instead, securitization may be seen from a practice-based perspective. At the core is the process of evolving an ASEAN maritime security community, particularly the ASEAN members-states’ non-traditional and non-controversial practices of maritime safety, marine environmental protection, etc. which may be de-coupled from traditional maritime security such as boundary issues and maritime claims. When undertaken, these have had a de-conflicting impact on ASEAN’s tenuous relations with China.
Full-text available
The core claims of the practice turn in International Relations (IR) remain ambiguous. What promises does international practice theory hold for the field? How does the kind of theorizing it produces differ from existing perspectives? What kind of research agenda does it produce? This article addresses these questions. Drawing on the work of Andreas Reckwitz, we show that practice approaches entail a distinctive view on the drivers of social relations. Practice theories argue against individualistic-interest and norm-based actor models. They situate knowledge in practice rather than “mental frames” or “discourse.” Practice approaches focus on how groups perform their practical activities in world politics to renew and reproduce social order. They therefore overcome familiar dualisms—agents and structures, subjects and objects, and ideational and material—that plague IR theory. Practice theories are a heterogeneous family, but, as we argue, share a range of core commitments. Realizing the promise of the practice turn requires considering the full spectrum of its approaches. However, the field primarily draws on trajectories in international practice theory that emphasize reproduction and hierarchies. It should pay greater attention to practice approaches rooted in pragmatism and that emphasize contingency and change. We conclude with an outline of core challenges that the future agenda of international practice theory must tackle.
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In the last decade maritime piracy has become recognized as a pressing global problem. Together with the problem the new inter-disciplinary project of piracy studies has emerged. In this article I review the state of knowledge and the character of piracy studies. I present two arguments. Firstly, I review recent contributions and suggest that piracy studies is organized in three pillars. The first pillar studies the phenomenon of piratical practice and organization, the second the various organizational responses to it, and the third historicizes and theorizes piracy and the response to it. For each of these pillars I outline future challenges. Secondly, I argue to understand piracy studies, following John Dewey as a community of inquiry', that is, a community of researchers interested in translating violence and crime at sea into distinct problems that can be mastered. Although researchers rely on different scientific methods as well as divergent problematizations, piracy studies is an inter-disciplinary project that combines abstract and critical stances with immediate practical policy relevance. Far from being a niche project, piracy studies is representative of an innovative mode of knowledge production. Hence, there are larger lessons to be drawn from piracy studies, namely how knowledge generation can be organized to address a contemporary problem.
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What role does ideational change play in norm emergence? While there has been some attention to changes in the application of norms, most scholars refer to the ideas that are associated with a norm’s practice as being fixed. I argue that ideational change is a causal mechanism that facilitates norm emergence. In particular, I propose three types of content change that capture changes in the ideas associated with the goals expected to be attained by the application of the norm (‘logic of consequences’), with its morality (‘logic of appropriateness’), and with its relations with similar or alternative practices (‘specification’). These changes in the rational and moral reasoning and argumentation that frame the practice that is associated with an emerging norm are likely to make this practice congruent with more contexts and appealing for more states. To illustrate the content change proposition, this article traces the emergence of the international norm of truth and reconciliation commissions. In the debates that followed the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, truth and reconciliation commissions shifted from being seen as a political compromise to being regarded as a ‘holistic’ tool for social and political reconstruction and came to be associated with multiple democratizing effects. Truth and reconciliation commissions also shifted from being the ‘weaker alternative’ to trials to a practice that is morally equal and complementary to the judicial option. Taken as a whole, these changes in the expected utility, morality, and specification of truth and reconciliation commissions facilitated their emergence and consequent institutionalization as an international norm.