NordSTEVA annual conferences – University of Copenhagen

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NordSTEVA annual conferences

NordSTEVA hosted its annual conference 1-2 of December 2016 at University of Stavanger. This years annual conference was organised by SEROS – Centre for Risk Management and Societal Safety. The Conference focus was societal values vs security technologies.

During the conference, all of the research groups in NordSTEVA presented their work and research, and NordSTEVA also invited external speakers to present their perspective on social values and security technologies. Below is a outline of the different research presented on the conference. 

Rocco Bellanova (senior researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo) presented his paper "Digital, politics, and algorithms: Governing digital data through the lens of data protection". 

The paper focus on how many actors mobilize the cognitive, legal and technical tool-box of data protection when they discuss and address controversial issues such as digital mass surveillance. Yet, critical approaches to the digital only barely explore the politics of data protection in relation to data-driven governance. Building on governmentality studies and Actor-Network-Theory, this article analyses the potential and limits of using data protection to critique the ‘digital age’. Using the conceptual tool of dispositifs, it sketches an analytics of data protection and the emergence of its configuration as ‘data protection by design and by default’. This exploration reminds us that governing through data implies, first and foremost, governing digital data.

The full length of Rocco Bellanova's interesting paper can be acquired here.


Helene O.I. Gundhus (Professor from University of Oslo) presented her work on cross-border police cooperation and intelligence.

Her presentation focused on the new trends and strategies within policing: Predictive policing, risk-based policing, proactive investigation, preactive criminal  justice and logic of security. The aim is to understand how the blurring line between prevention, intelligence and investigation is manifested empirically in police practice in Norway. The empirical research aim is therefore to understand how these new forms of crime prevention and investigation can be theorised and conceptualised, and what distinguishes them from the more traditional forms of policing.

The police work is affected by both global, national and local dynamics: disassembling the national. Globalization as such is taking place inside the national, rather than just over it. The part of the cross-border perspective is to challenge the correspondence of national territory with the national: 'Breaking up' the national and tracing the elements of the global. The new technologies applied by the police reduces constraints of time and space that enables action at a distance, and different types of surveillance technology and police intelligence projects becomes crucial for collaborating cross-border.

Kristoffer Kjærgaard Christensen 
(PhD Fellow, University of Copenhagen) & Karen Lund Petersen (Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen) presented their joint paper "Public-Private Partnerships on Cyber Security" at the conference. 

The paper focus on how cyber security is arguably a central issue in contemporary security politics. However, it is characterised by a fundamental uncertainty, which poses a great challenge to its governance and calls for new modes of organising security politics. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are therefore seen as the answer to the challenge of governing the uncertainty of cyber security by enhancing flexibility and robustness through knowledge-sharing. Yet, the fundamental uncertainty that characterises cyber security paves the way for contestation and controversies between the partners regarding this knowledge-sharing. Engaging with Danish PPPs on cyber security, we argue that PPPs on cyber security involve an ontological battle over different threat realities of cyber security, or what we might call the ‘ontological politics’ of cyber security. Arguing that PPPs on security are not defined narrowly by interest but rather by loyalty and ‘the promise of a promise’, we suggest that a way forward for such PPPs lies not in coming to a consensus on a common threat reality of cyber security but rather in embracing the differences and using them constructively. We then situate this suggestion within a general move towards resilience and discuss the political and democratic implications of this. 

Marcus Abrahamsson (Associate Professor, Lund University) & Henrik Tehler (Professor, Lund University) presented their joint paper "Standardization of disaster risk management – threat or opportunity?" at the annual conference. 

The paper shed light on how losses due to disasters are continuously increasing and there seems to be a general agreement that more efforts need to be directed towards reducing the risk of future losses. So-called ‘all-hazards’ and ‘whole-of-society’ approaches are crucial in this respect. They imply the involvement of many different actors, both public and private, and the consideration of a broad range of hazards that threaten what is considered valuable. Different countries use different terms to denote the process(es) implemented to achieve this; for example “country risk management”  or “disaster risk management”. Although the terminology might differ, the key idea from a risk management perspective is the same; no single actor can manage the task by themselves, and no one is “in charge” of all other actors. We denote the collection of actors involved in managing disaster risk “disaster risk management system”.

Overall, the study found that all participants preferred quantitative risk descriptions to qualitative. Similarly, in general, both groups endorsed the use of narratives. However, engineering students perceived a mixture of qualitative and quantitative descriptions as less useful than students with a social sciences background. Overall, the results indicate that disaster risk management systems would benefit from greater consistency in the way risks are described, and from greater use of quantitative assessments. Furthermore, a supporting narrative can provide useful contextual information that may facilitate the comparison of incongruent risk descriptions. 

Grahame Thompson (Professor, Copenhagen University and Open University, England) presented his work "The Sources of Financial (In)Security in a Period of Central Bank-Led Capitalism". 

The main point is that Central Banks (CBs) have become the premier ‘managers’ of economies in the post-financial crises period. Whether by active choice or the force of circumstances they have assumed this mantel with enthusiasm. This is a period termed ‘central bank-led capitalism’ and it is the way questions of financial security have been framed in this context that are investigated in the paper. First it examines how CBs functions have been fitted into a structure of international economic policy making organized around several notions of a ‘trilemma’ of objectives and constraints. Then it drills down into the specifics of CBs operations in respect to the conduct of monetary policy that impinge directly on financial stability and security. Finally, the paper assesses the limits of central bank-led capitalism in a security context and briefly reviews alternative policies needed to stimulate economic growth and secure a more robust financial regime, one that provides genuine prospects for renewed financial security

Sirpa Virta (professor, University of Tampere) & Jari Taponen (University of Tampere) presented their paper "Policing regimes in transition in the Nordic Countries: Some critical notes form the Nordic Reality".

The paper focus on how the Nordic way of policing is usually described as democratic, uncontroversial and civilian in outlook and style. A prevailing image is that policing reflects the egalitarian values of Nordic people and societies. From a political point of view, Nordic metropolises can be characterised as 'metropolis' under the national authority' where the state is the main actor responsible for policing and security. Local elected politicians and local political decision-making bodies have no role in defining policing, police tasks or the allocation of resources for policing. Nordic police cooperation reflects the close geographical and social connections between Nordic countries.this cooperation takes multiple forms and it is based mainly on institutionalised practices and on formal agreements between the Nordic countries' police organisations.


The program of the NordSTEVA conference 2016:

 Day 1 (Thursday Dec 1st):

09.00:          Registration
09.45:          Welcome: SEROS
10.00:          NordSTEVA NCoE core concepts and terms: Peter Burgess
10.20:          External speakers’ panel (3 consortium invited guests)
11.40:          Questions and preliminary discussions
12.00:          Lunch
13.00:          RG1 Law and Ethics
14.00:          Break
14.15:          RG2 Digital matters
15.15:          Break
15.30:          RG5 Institutions
16.30:          Break
16.45:          Continued discussions
18.30:          End of day 1
20.00:          Dinner at Gaffel & Karaffel. Address: Øvre Holmegate 20

Day 2 (Friday Dec 2nd):

09.00:          RG3 Politics of security
10.00:          Break
10.15:          RG4 Risk Governance
11.15:          Break
11.30:          WP3 Transversal issues
12.00:          Lunch
13.00:          Settling discussions
14.00:          Closed NordSTEVA session: Decisions on the way forward concerning ‘Shared Issues’
15.00:          End