CAST > Research
CAST's research is anchored in and contributes to the further development of the 'Copenhagen School' within security studies. The interdisciplinary academic project aims at exploring, comparing and refining the methods, concepts and principles, different disciplines use in assessing kinds of threats, dangers and risks.
Below you will find a list, containing research projects by CAST's core ('residential') staff. Numerous other projects by visiting scholars, networked University of Copenhagen researchers and other affiliated researchers will be listed on the homepage as well.
- Securitisation Theory
- Cultures of Corporate Security
- New Practices of Expertise in European Security
- Bourdieusian Sociology in International Relations
- Terrorism: Corporate Risk and National Security (re)stated
- Climate Change as Security Issue
- Religion as Security Issue
- The History of the Concept of Security
- Theories of Theory - and Securitisation Theory's Kind of Theory
- Muslims in Security Organizations
- The Sociology of Security Studies
- Expert Roles
- Territorial Space in International Relations
- Micro-States in the Margin of Europe: Post-Colonial Sovereignty Games
- How We Learned to Live With the Bombs: A Comparative Study of the Development of Urban Terrormindedness, 1910-2010
- Securing Copenhagen: A Cultural History of the Political Bomb, 1807-2007
- Bullets, Bombs, and Broadsides: The Materialist Origins of Modern Terrorism
- Violence of the Word: Military and Revolutionary Uses of the Leaflet Bomb from WWII
- Counterterrorism and the Neo-Republican Patriot
- In Good Company?
- (How) can they become like us?
- Organization: Undercutting The Public as Critic?
- Realism, Religion, and Security Culture
- Mobilization: Co-Opting The Public as Ally?
- The Politics of Securitization
- Geopolitics and Sovereignty in the Arctic
- Globality and Planetary Security
Further work on the theory of securitisation (also known as the 'Copenhagen School') includes a radically revised edition of the 1998 key text by Buzan, Wæver and de Wilde, Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Various ‘reply to critics' articles engage with issues such as the ethics of security and security studies, de-securitisation and the explanatory status of the theory. The theory has spurred a surprising amount of applications as well as critical engagements, and it is therefore time to re-state the theory, its main analysis of the sectors - military, economic, environmental, societal and political - as well as to answer explicitly the critics, in many cases by specifying or developing the theory further. In addition, an underexploited potential of the theory for guidance in conflict resolution is to be explicated.
In 2009, Prof. Ole Wæver finished the 2nd edition of his most recent book on securitization theory and in 2010-12 published the several articles on the subject. In September 2010, CAST Sernior Researcher Karen Lund Petersen and CAST Post.doc Ulrik Pram Gad hosted a conference titled "The Politics of Securitization", which resulted in the publishing of a special issue of the Security Dialogue on the politics of securitization. An extended, Norwegian version of the introduction to the special issue is available here.
Cultures of Corporate Security
The research project ‘Cultures of Corporate Security' asks what security measures large Danish, French, UK and US companies take to counter terrorism and what understandings of national security and public safety are implied in these corporate security decisions. The central aim is to show that the relation between corporate risk and public safety is understood differently in different countries and that this affects the feasibility of counter terrorism policies.
This project is a three years post.doc project PhD Karen Lund Petersen and financed by the Danish Research Council and CAST.
New Practices of Expertise in European Security
The research project 'New Practices of Expertise in European Security' asks what role European security think tanks play in relation to political practice and academic security studies in Europe. The central aim is to study how the advent of a number of security think tanks in Europe has affected the relationship between theory and practice (science/policy) and hence the configuration of the European field of security practice. The project will map practices of expertise in European security and compare these to the American case.
This project is a three year post.doc project undertaken by PhD Trine Villumsen Berling and funded by CAST.
Bourdieusian Sociology in International Relations
This research project investigates how central concepts in the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu can be added to the toolbox of international relations scholars after the linguistic turn. Special attention is given to the concepts of field, doxa and capital and how these can be combined in a dynamic analysis of change in international fields.
This project is carried out by PhD Trine Villumsen Berling and the expected outcome is a peer reviewed journal article, which has been accepted for publication in 2013 by Theory and Society and titled "Bourdieu, International Relations and European Security". Further, a book chapter in the forthcoming book Bourdieu in International Relations, Routledge, will appear in the summer of 2012. Also, the monograph The International Political Sociology of Security: Rethinking Theory and Practice with Routledge is under preparation and is scheduled to come out in 2013.
The book project ‘Terrorism: Corporate Risk and National Security (Re)Stated’ investigates the role of private companies (airports, airlines, ports and food production companies) in Danish and American counter-terrorism policies; aiming to understand how the current involvement and subjectivation of private companies challenge the modern understandings of national security and corporate risk.
This project is undertaken by PhD Karen Lund Petersen and financed by CAST.
2007 saw climate change rise to a general status of international security issue - symbolically peaking when the UN Security Council met on April 17 over climate change and in October the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to IPCC and Al Gore. Now remains the question: How will it influence the politics of climate change if the issue has been securitized? Securitization of climate change varies greatly in terms of referent object and the exact nature of the threat, most systematically between those who see it as a security issue only when climate change leads to conflict, and those who see climate change as a security issue in itself. How does this and other differences in the form of securitization condition its likely effects? Previously, most theorists within both security studies and environmental politics have warned against a security framing for environmental affairs, but today this seems to have changed. Is this due to a general change in security affairs, where inter-issue competition create conceptual inflation, or to changes in the perceived threat or to the politics of climate change - and what does this tell about potential benefits and dangers from ‘climate security'?
In early 2009, Prof. Ole Wæver presented a conference paper on this issue and convened the session on migration, conflict and security at the big March 2009 Climate Research Conferencein Copenhagen. In 2012 the following publication was published: Richardson, K. & Wæver, O., June 2012 'Building Bridges between Scientists and Policymakers to Reach Sustainability', Solutions, vol. 3, issue 3.
What security dynamics are characteristic of situations where the threat is defined in terms of religion - either religion as the threat or religion as that which is threatened? How can insights from security theory and sociology of religion be combined to produce a better understanding of religion as a security issue? And on this basis, can we get a better grasp of the ‘big conflicts' around ‘the West', ‘Islam' and ‘secularism' as they play out mostly between and within the US, Europe and the Middle East? The theoretical ambitions of the project point to potential benefits for both security studies and the study of radical religious politics, while the empirical and policy oriented aspiration is to point to escalatory dynamics that could be mitigated with the help of conflict theory.
This research project is carried out by Prof. Ole Wæver and was previously partly financed by the Danish Research Council. This research project resulted in the following publications:
Wæver, O & Sheikh, MK 2012, ' Global Security and Conflict', in Helmut K. Anheier & Mark Juergensmeyer (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Studies, vol. 2. SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 845-853.
Sheikh, M. K. & Wæver, O. 2012, 'Western Secularisms: Variation in a Doctrine and its Practice' in Tickner, A. B. & Blaney, D. (eds) Thinking International Relations Differently. Routledge pp. 275-298. (Worlding beyond the West). Wæver, O 2011, ' Velkommen til flertallets verden - den religiøse ', Udenrigs , vol 66, no. 1, pp. 8-18. Wæver, O 2011, ' Komparativ sekularisme: en forskningsdagsorden med konfliktmodererende potentiale ', Politica - Tidsskrift for Politisk Videnskab , vol 43, no. 2, pp. 163-185. Sheikh, MK & Wæver, O 2010, ' Lines in Water and Sand: Comparative Secularism as Analytical Tool for Conflict Containment: Paper , International Studies Association, March 2005, Hawaii, USA. Revised edition under publication. ', in AB Tickner & O Wæver (eds) , Thinking the International Differently: Worlding Beyond the West , Geocultural Epistemologies, Routledge.
The concept of security is often treated as a simple and self-evident one where conceptual struggles consist over the modifiers and specifications - national security, collective security, human security, environmental security, etc. However, the meaning of security as such has changed radically in the more than 2.000 years since its Latin emergence. Meanings have varied between positive and negative, objective and subjective, as well as state, individual and other ‘referent objects'. Exploring the history of the concept serves amongst other things to heighten awareness of the particularity of understandings assumed today, but also political imprints from structures and projects of different ages will become visible. In particular, the project will explore the emergence in the early 20th Century of security as a key value in society, the eruption in the 1940s of ‘national security' as a key concept in foreign affairs, and the possibility that the specific structure of security since then was shaped by a transferral of meaning from a raison d'etat concept running out of legitimacy with the democratisation of foreign policy. The project serves in the context of CAST and securitisation theory to historicise the particular security speech act.
This project constituted a major part of Prof. Ole Wæver's work in 2009-2010 and included an international conference and a small monograph, an anthology and the following publication: Wæver, O 2012, ' Security, the Concept of ', in Helmut K. Anheier & Mark Juergensmeyer (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Studies, vol. 4. SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 1510-1513.
Theories of Theory - and securitisation theory's kind of theory
The discipline of International Relations has been exceedingly unfocused in its discussions of ‘theory' and never engaged explicitly in debates or explorations on the possible meanings of ‘theory'. During the past couple of years, the project on ‘theories of theories' has reviewed two previous key episodes in the discipline - the birth of IR realism in the 1940s-50s in the US and its re-birth as neorealism in 1979 - in order to clarify the terms for a discussion of securitisation theory: Is it a theory in the classical scientific sense? Should it be? And what guidelines for improvements on the theory can be drawn from a more precise understanding of the nature and structure of theory in both natural and social sciences?
Prof. Ole Wæver has published the two articles on the project. REFERENCE.
Muslims with migrant background working in security organizations (police, intelligence, armed forces, MFA) are identified in a series of potentially conflicting ways: First, they are constructed an functional necessity (language skills etc.) in relation to the tasks of the organizations. At the same time they - due to the configuration of present discourses on identity and civilization - occupy doubly charged positions as both emblems of integration and (according to some) potential fifth column agents. The project analyses the identificatory cross-pressures on the individual Muslim minority members working in: What are the pressures to stress, downplay, change, eliminate, or uphold specific identifications? How do the pressures work? And what are the reactions to these pressures, as recounted in qualitative interviews?
This post.doc. project is undertaken by PhD Ulrik Pram Gad and financed by CAST. Publications are due in 2013 and 2014.
Security studies emerged in the years after World War II as a particular form of interdisciplinary, civilian expertise in a field previously reserved for military professionalism. The field was professionalised, became largely subsumed into international relations / political science, and developed a complicated relationship to both academic theory and policy making. What social and cognitive structures did the field form at this intersection? What kind of intellectual field is security studies, how has it changed in recent years, and does it increasingly take distinct avenues in Europe, the US and maybe also other parts of the world?
The sociology of science angle on the field at large was pursued mainly by Prof. Ole Wæver, but in close connection with PhD Trine Villumsen Berling's projects on think tanks and expertise, and work by Prof. Lene Hansen and Prof. Barry Buzan on the history of security studies. Prof. Wæver's short term outputs in this area included an article co-authored with Prof. Buzan, and an article in a forthcoming anthology edited by PhD Arlene Tickner and Prof. Wæver on how key concepts in International Relations theory are conceptualized differently around the world. In a collaborative project with Prof. Heine Andersen, Prof. Christian Knudsen and Ass. Prof. Kristoffer Kropp, a case study of security studies was compared to other disciplines, sub-disciplines and inter-disciplines in the social sciences.
The research project has resulted in the following publications: Greenwood, M. T. J. & Wæver, O. mar 2012, 'København-Kairo, Tur-retur: En sikkerhedsteori møder revolutionen', Politik, 15, 1, s. 15-25. Wæver, O. 2012, 'Aberystwyth, Paris, Copenhagen: The Europeanness of New “Schools” of Security Theory in an American Field' in Tickner, A. B. & Blaney, D. (eds) Thinking the International Differently. Routledge s. 48-71. (Worlding beyond the West). Wæver, O & Buzan, B 2010, ' After the Return to Theory: The Past, Present, and Future of Security Studies ', in A Collins (ed.) , Contemporary Security Studies , 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 463-483. Wæver, O 2010, ' Still a Discipline after All These Debates? ', in T Dunne, M Kurki & S Smith (eds) , International Relations Theories. Discipline and Diversity. , 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 297-318.
This research project investigates the possible roles of security experts in a time of securitisation. What types of connections to the world of practice are available to the security analyst when objective truths are questioned?
This project is carried out by PhD Trine Villumsen Berling. In 2009, a workshop on expert roles was hosted by CAST and in 2010, Trine Villumsen Berling together with Christian Bueger (Cardiff University) presented a paper on security expertise at the annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA). Furthermore, an international conference on security expertise gathering experts from sociology, history, sociology of science and political science was held in June 2011 at the Department of Political Science and hosted by Trine Villumsen Berling and Christian Bueger. An edited volume is being prepared and is expected to be published in 2013.
This project investigates how a particular social spatiality established through surveying, calculation and representation came to underpin a particular territorial/global order from the 16th century onwards. To investigate territory as a spatial concept detaches it somewhat from the linguistic turn in International Relations by reclaiming a notion of materiality as essential for understanding the territorial order of global politics.
The project is carried out by visiting scholar at CAST Associate Professor Jeppe Strandsbjerg who will work on the publication of a paper previously presented at ISA 2011 with the title ‘World of Warcraft™ and the State of Territory in International Relations’. The project adds a critical discussion of one of the fundamental building blocks of national security, that of territory, to CAST's profile.
The project analysed the relations between the EU and a series of post-colonial micro states in the margin of Europe: One group enjoying status as an partly autonomous "overseas country or territory" of an EU member state (i.a. Greenland, French Polynesia, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Mayotte) and a group of Nordic micro states with varying status vis-à-vis both the EU and the 'mother state' (Iceland, Faroe Islands, Åland). On the one hand, these micro states seek an independent sphere of action in relation to their ‘mother states' - on the other hand, the selfsame countries are developing an intimate relation to the European Union, which in itself is challenging the sovereignty of its member states.
The project analysed the special dilemmas and strategies to which this double movement gives rise and was undertaken by Ass. Prof. Rebecca Adler-Nissen, Center for European Politics / Department of Political Science, and PhD Ulrik Pram Gad, CAST. The project is co-financed by the Danish Social Science Research Council, Carlsberg Foundation, Augustinus Foundation, Stjerngren's Foundation, and Letterstedska Foundation. Six theoretical contributions and 13 case studies were presented at a conference in Nuuk, 18-19 April 2011. The contributions appeared in an edited volume on the overseas cases in Routledge's New International Relations series and a special issue of Cooperation & Conflict on the Nordic cases. So far, spin offs may be found in Politik 14(1) and Grønlandsk Kultur- og Samfundsforskning (2012). More on the project can be found here.
How We Learned to Live With the Bombs: A Comparative Study of the Development of Urban Terrormindedness, 1910-2010
A monograph project on the development of urban civilians and institutions by applying various material and institutional mechanisms to cope with the three waves of terrormindedness caused by the fear of aerial warfare, nuclear annihilation and substate terrorism.
Securing Copenhagen: A Cultural History of the Political Bomb, 1807-2007
Bullets, Bombs, and Broadsides: The Materialist Origins of Modern Terrorism
Violence of the Word: Military and Revolutionary Uses of the Leaflet Bomb from WWI
A project with Bernard Geoghegan, Northwestern University, contributing to the discussion of the nature and definition of state terror, terrorism, and political violence by studying the use of leaflet bombs in WWII, British Palestine and South Africa.
Counterterrorism and the Neo-Republican Patriot
The research project 'Counterterrorism and the Neo-Republican Patriot' explored the ways in which countering terrorism has transformed the state/society divide, redefining notions of power, citizenship, and duty which sustain it. It asked how contemporary security governance manages to mobilize private citizenry; what rhetorical strategies, it turns to in the attempt to ‘responsibilize' the public, and; as a result, how those strategies reconfigure the traditional boundaries between government and citizen. The project aimed to show that the republican idea of duty has gained renaissance and paved the way for new understandings of patriotism.
This project was undertaken by PhD Vibeke Schou Tjalve and PhD Karen Lund Petersen. The project outcome was a peer reviewed journal article. REFERENCE
In both the academic and political debates on Private Security Companies (PSCs), the link between the private company and the state is primarily expressed in terms of laws and control; a focus on the legal regulation and contract management, which by and large emphasize the modern ideal of control and management as the yardstick of political success. However, increasingly we also see an attempt to activate security responsibilities amongst private companies in ways that go beyond the formalised contract e.g. by calling for corporate patriotism and informal partnerships. In such understanding, privatization is much more than a move of responsibility from the public to the private sector, but implies a need for the companies to act and think politically. The present project explored this tension in the use of the concept of privatisation by investigating the main European think tank reports and policy documents on the role of PSCs, and showed that there is a need for alternative understanding of the ‘privatisation of security’ – one that acknowledges and renders visible the politics of corporate decision-making.
The project was undertaken by PhD Karen Lund Petersen and was published as a chapter in a book on Private Security Companies. REFERENCE
The focus of the ph.d. project by CAST Researcher Ulrik Pram Gad was the Danish political debates on 'Muslim relations' as interacting policy narratives. Theoretically, the dissertation investigated how various policies for relating to the other contributes to radicalization of conflict between self and other by the specific ways in which they invite (or does not invite) the other to future interaction. The dissertation analysed debates on integration and human rights of migrants and refugees, counterterrorism, freedom of expression, and Turkish EU accession. The analysis concluded that there is not one single, securitized discourse on Danish identity in relation to Muslims. But the narratives promoted are structured to produce future interaction leading in that direction. The three years ph.d. project was financed by the University of Copenhagen research priority "Europe in Transition". The dissertation "(How) can They become like Us?" was succesfully defended on 8 October 2010. Spin offs were published 2009-2014 - i.a. in Critical Studies on Terrorism 5(2) and 5(3), NordEuropa Forum 21(1), Babylon 7(1), and Distinktion no. 17.
One highlights the implications of uncertainty for defence organizations and their public accountability. This dimension zoomed in on the move from hierarchy to network in Western defence organizations, particularly in the military sector. Drawing on Geoffrey Green’s (2010) distinction between ‘oral’ versus ‘occular’ democracy, the project theorized that move as one from articulated policies to tacit professional practice and reflect on its implications for conventional modes of thinking about public autonomy and democratic critique.
The project was undertaken by PhD Vibeke Schou Tjalve and the outputs constitute a number of publications, including Tjalve, VS 2011 ’Designing (De)Security: European Exceptionalism, Atlantic Republicanism, and the Public Sphere’ in special issue on The Politics of Securitization, Security Dialogue 42, 5-6; Tjalve VS 2011 ‘Realism, Pragmatism and the Public Sphere: Restraining Foreign Policy in an Age of Mass Politics’. The paper presented at the BISA conference April 27-29, Manchester. In preparation for journal submission. And lastly, Tjalve, VS 2011/12 'Organizing Uncertainty: Military Governance From Oral Command to Tacit Practice'. Monograph (on the decentralization of the US and Danish military) in preparation. Planned for 2012.
PhD Vibeke Schou Tjalve undertook the research project on mobilization, highlighting how the management of uncertainty involves not only a re-organization of traditional defence institutions, but also a profound reliance on public participation. Theoretically, it explored the role of rhetoric and charisma in the politics of mobilization. Empirically, it examined the particular forms of mobilizing power which the contemporary management of uncertainty appropriates in its ‘responsibilization’ of civil society.
The outputs of the project constituted a number of publications, including Tjalve, VS 2011 Rhetoric, Realism and Grand Strategy (with Michael C. Williams). Paper presented at the ISA conference March 14-19, Montreal. In preparation for journal submission. And the paper Tjalve, VS 2011 Counter-terrorism and the Neo-Republican Patriot. (with Karen Lund Petersen), which is currently under review.
In relation to how the organizational transformations condition the capacity of Western democracies to critically deliberate on issues of security and war, PhD Vibeke Schou Tjalve continued to be interested in the role(s) which religion may play to ‘security culture’ – that is, in religion both as a ‘securitizing’ and as a self-reflexive or even self-restraining force in political debates over war and peace.
The publications within this project include Tjalve, VS 2011 ‘Rights, Religion, Security: A Christian Realist Perspective’ in Helle Porsdam (Civil) Religion and Human Rights: A Possible Security Discourse?. London: Edward Elgar Publishers. Tjalve, VS 2011 ‘Gik alle konger frem på rad: Om tro, tvivl og afsikkerhedsliggørelse’ in Politica, 43. årg. nr. 2, p. 229-247. Tjalve, VS 2008 ’Obama: Den Kristne Realist’ in Ræson 7, April, 2010. Tjalve, VS 2008 'Realist Strategies of Republican Peace: Niebuhr, Morgenthau and the Politics of Patriotism as Dissent'. New York: Palgrave.
Two decades have passed since Prof. Ole Wæver first formulated the theory of securitization and a decade since the most well-known application in 'Security: A New Framework for Analysis'. Today, the debate in the IR community concerning this theory seems to be stuck in rather well-known positions. The aim of the project is to lift the debate on securitization to a more principled level - focusing less on the possibilities for refining the theory and more on how different understandings of politics define and constrain the field of security studies, in particular securitization theory. By zooming out and re-focusing on the concept of politics, the project will contribute to a redrawing of the map of the landscape of security studies by establishing (or rather: highlight the character of the) links between, on the one hand, securitization theory and, on the other hand, other theoretical approaches to international relations.
The project was undertaken by PhD Karen Lund Petersen and PhD Ulrik Pram Gad, CAST. The outcome of the project is a double special issue of Security Dialogue 42(4-5) and a forthcoming (fall of 2012) article in Internasjonal Politikk 70(3).
Traditionally sovereignty has been an issue of state craft and military security. Though, within the Arctic region it is obvious that many more actors play a significant role. The distribution of sovereignty is mostly being decided in an interplay between diplomacy, science, and UN expert panels. Private and sovereign investment funds play a significant role for the development not only of industry but also for the future political status of Greenland, which receives plenty of scholarly and political attention. MNC within the mining, shipping and tourism sectors play a role in the development of future regulatory framework in the Arctic.
This project is undertaken by CAST visiting scholar Associate Professor Jeppe Strandsbjerg will result in a paper which investigates what ‘geopolitical practices’ that take place in the Arctic region. For example, the distribution of sovereign rights at sea is determined by ‘natural’ or geomorphological features such as the continental shelf under international law. The legal description of natural conditions for sovereign rights leads to a scenario where the distribution of sovereignty is decided through cartography and measurement of the seabed. This, in effect, leads to a scenario where conventional geopolitics (understood as the relationship between power politics and geography) is replaced by a regime where mapping and international law supposedly go hand in hand to provide the possibility for a peaceful distribution of sovereignty.
The project is run by CAST visiting scholar Associate Professor Casper Sylvest in cooperation with DIIS Senior Researcher Rens van Munster. The project seeks to lay bare the conceptual underpinnings of ‘globality’ and ‘planetary security’ and ask how and with what consequences visions of planetary (in)security are and have been articulated in relation to nuclear weapons and climate change.
The outcome will be a book project (with van Munster) provisionally entitled Nuclear Realism. The book seeks to make room for a deeper and wider appreciation of reactions to the nuclear revolution than we are often presented with in IR or strategic studies. We do so by looking at a range of intellectuals reacting primarily to the thermonuclear revolution of the 1950s that we group under the term nuclear realism. This study, we argue, will recover an important but largely overlooked dimension of social and political thought after the nuclear revolution that has implications for our historical understanding as well as for our contemporary debates in security theory and practice.