Piracy, Practice, Problems: An Outline of Problematization Theory

CAST Research Seminar with Christian Bueger "Piracy, Practice, Problems: An Outline of Problematization Theory".

The “problem” as an analytical category for theorizing and studying politics has seen a significant renaissance. Drawing and combining insights from John Dewey, Michel Foucault and a range of contemporary theorists of performativity, this paper outlines a theory of problematization as a mean of studying how problems are made.  Christian Bueger converges with Foucault that problematizations are arrangements of power, provide distinct subject positions and proposals for action. Yet, Dewey’s insight that problematizations produce social relations which create communities or “publics” is also vital. Problematizations should not been understood in a dualist ontology of power/resistance, but rather approached as multiplicity. The majority of contemporary problems will rely on several overlapping or conflicting problematizations. To illustrate these theoretical movies Christian Bueger draws on the case of contemporary maritime piracy. In the paper, he discusses a range of examples of problematization practices, including quantification, monitoring, reporting, documenting, and visualizing and propose an initial taxonomy of five problematizations each anchored in different wider problematization discourses, that is, securitization, legalization, economization, developmentalization and humanitarianization. And conclude by outlining the prospects of problematization theory for international theory, policy research, as well as political decision making. 

NB: papers are not presented orally, we expect participants to have read in advance. The papers will be forwarded one week beforehand, for a copy, please contact sp@cast.ku.dk.