ST01 Critical Military Studies

Section Chairs: Anna Danielsson & Caroline Holmqvist

Critical Military Studies provides an inclusive and interdisciplinary space for the interrogation of violence, war-making, militaries and militarisms, and their attendant structures, inequalities, legacies and pains.  Indicative concerns include, but are not limited to: analysis of military lives, institutions and occupations; martial epistemes and constructions of enmity; the entanglement of martial desires and rationalities with domains from health and tourism to architecture and algorithmics; the imbrication of military power and violence with regimes of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability and anthropocentrism; the preparation, prosecution and aftermaths of war.

CMS thus engages with the myriad actors, discourses, materials, technologies, media, data, bodies, affects, practices, logistics and flows that constitute the broad capillaries of military power, as well as exploring how these become assembled and transformed in various crucibles of conflict.  We welcome theoretical, empirical and methodological contributions that engage with military and ‘everyday’ spaces and settings, across a range of temporalities, and that deploy and develop analytics ranging from the intimate and emotional to the infrastructural and geopolitical. 

We would particularly welcome contributions that foreground the ecological, that explore militarism and war-making as planetary forces, and that examine the very ‘natures of war’ (Gregory 2016) – the environments and atmospheres through and on which war is fought.  How are forms of martial thinking and power entangled with the violences of extraction, contamination, fallout, toxicity and extinction, reshaping the very material possibilities and conditions of living and dying?  How might resistance to militarism resonate with environmental and decolonial ontologies and practices?

ST02 Diplomacy – Past and Present

Section Chairs: Ann Towns & Katarzyna Jezierska & Kristin Anabel Eggeling

Diplomacy is constantly changing. Over the last decades, the diplomatic profession has opened up to new social groups and is no longer exclusively the reserve of men of aristocratic descent. What is more, diplomatic functions are being performed by new social actors (e.g., civil society, celebrities) and diplomacy is practiced in new ways (e.g., use of social media). Understanding these changes may require new theoretical and methodological approaches. Indeed, following these changes, diplomatic studies has become a vibrant and innovative area of research.

Our section taps into this innovative research by focusing on the changing practices of diplomacy in a historical perspective. We imagine our section to ask a range of different questions about continuity and change covering anything from short time frames to the long durée. How do new developments reconstitute diplomats and diplomacy? What dimensions of diplomacy have stayed the same over time, as reified practices, and how? With decolonization, as a growing number of new states were diplomatically recognized with resident embassies, how was diplomacy transformed?  Has diplomacy adapted to the recent entry of large numbers of women, and if so, in what ways? In addition to the huge impact of the recent “practice turn” on diplomatic studies, what are other theoretically innovative strategies to analyze diplomacy? What might the centering of non-Western agency imply for the study of diplomacy?

We welcome papers and sections interested in exploring these transformations.

Theoretically, methodologically and empirically innovative contributions are all encouraged, including feminist, postcolonial/decolonial and critical race approaches.

ST03 Doing International Political Sociology

Section Chairs: Jef Huysmans & Joao Nogueira

This section aims at offering a space in EISA conferences for the engagement with agendas of research that gravitate around international political sociology as a site of critical explorations of the ‘problem of the international’.  In the past fifteen years IPS sought to expand critical investigations at the intersection of different disciplinary fields in the social sciences in a move to expand and diversify scholarship in IR.  The efforts to continuously push the limits of this intellectual movement, IPS has produced a variety of initiatives that have, for the most part, contributed to consolidate its transdisciplinary and transversal agenda, connecting scholars and researchers who share a disposition to transgress institutionalized repertoires of analysis and displace questions, methods and styles considered acceptable in the field.  Following the exploration of the in-between, the contingent and the multiple in world politics that defines IPS, the section will stimulate debates that further its innovative research programme focusing on the importance of boundary traversing phenomena in world politics and on dynamics of fracturing social and political orders. Despite an intensified interest in the situated, the everyday, the event, and the local in IPS, gaining IR credentials still often requires that these little or momentary analyses have something to say about big orders, transformations and world histories. IPS is a site of exploring concepts and approaches that problematises these pulls towards the ‘big’. It does so by inviting conceptual and methodological inventing that challenges sociologies of order and explores sociologies of transversal connecting

ST04 Global Health: One Health and Power Politics in Nature

Section Chairs: Nicholas Thomas & Catherine Lo

Health sits at the centre of power politics in nature. Humanity’s impact on nature has seen nature impact on humanity. Novel diseases now cross borders and populations with ease. Diseases proliferate in animal species, threatening not just the animals but the humans whose fates are intertwined with those animals. As the impact of the Anthropocene becomes more evident, it is necessary to understand how the politics of this relationship functions if we are to manage the health challenges that will only become more prevalent in the future.

Global health is an ideal lens from which to explore the threats facing humanity. It draws together participants from the natural as well as social sciences, from law and from economics. These different disciplines bring inter alia their own methodological concerns and priorities, ranging from equality of access to mechanisms of governance to the epistemologies of health and disease underlying the politics of global health, or the political determinants of health Whilst this list is non-exhaustive, a consensus in all global health study is the prominent role that politics plays in decisions about the provision of health. The inclusion of a series of global health panels in the 2020 PEC will encourage the type of cross-disciplinary fertilization of theories and approaches that helps to identify opportunities for the mitigation of the crises facing all life. As such global health is the embodiment of Glissant’s idea of the écho-monde where all things resonate with the other, and where solutions spillover beyond their intended targets.

ST05 Globalising IR

Section Chairs: Beatrix Futak-Campbell & Pinar Bilgin

The rationale for the section evolves from the call for broadening, diversifying, and globalising the study of IR. The need for globalising IR has been anticipated by Hoffmann 1977, Bull 1985, Cox 1981, Alker 1984, Holsti 1985, Ashley 1987 and has been taken up by scholars from both the Global North and South. Although there are many labels used to describe the fragmented attempts at globalising IR, most share the critique of the dominance of American IR, persistent Eurocentrism, and the existence of the discipline as a subfield of political science. Globalising IR will offer an intellectual space for all scholars working on any aspect of IR want to make the discipline more global even if their focus is one specific region.

EISA offers a perfect platform to advance the process of globalising IR. Even though there have been many attempts to globalise IR, they have remained within a specific disciplinary space. This EISA Section aims to build on these previous efforts but also go beyond, and to globalise IR also in the sense of bringing in its concerns (Eurocentrism etc.) into different sub-fields e.g. comparative regionalism and European Studies. Globalising the sub-field of European Studies alongside IR is to advance Chakrabarty’s (2000:3) claim that the “European age” in modern history began to yield place to other regions and global configurations”. In order for European Studies to remain relevant, it is a must to move away from provincialization to locating the study of ‘Europe’ in the study of globalised IR

ST06 Historical International Relations

Section Chairs: Benjamin de Carvalho & Zeynep Gulsah Capan

Historical International Relations has gained traction over the past decades, as reflected in a growing presence of papers and panels at major conferences in the field of International Relations (IR). Strong in its experience in fostering such engagements beyond sub-disciplinary boundaries, the HIST section aims at engaging with works ranging from more theoretical reflections on history and international relations to more specific empirical discussions. The HIST section offers a timely platform for reflections on historical knowledge in IR, now that a longitudinal perspective on our present has become an ever more pressing matter to understand and explain current international affairs. A main aim of this section is thus to focus on specific historical trajectories and transitions and to question the idea that often dominates in IR that the making of the international rests on historical, clear-cut ruptures. The HIST section invites scholars interested in all types of historical inquiry: from micro-histories of the international to particular historical event or phenomenon, or in historiographic explorations of international relations and/or the academic field of IR.

ST07 International Migration, Nationalism and Interethnic Relation

Section Chairs: Valeria Bello & Christian Kaunert

International migration has several key implications for International Relations. Human mobility can actually affect bilateral and multilateral relations; is often connected with the upsurge of tensions between states and ethnic groups; influences the way the international system and the role of the nation within it are regarded; and is a central topic of discussion in the field of national, international and human security. Moreover, from the early 1990ies, further understandings of why international migration have increasingly been socially constructed as an issue that, from social, cultural and economic concerns, has entered the security domain have developed what is known as “the securitization of migration” literature.

Nonetheless, migration is also the focus of non-security studies in IR, such as the analysis of the governance and the management of human mobility, or the influence of phenomenon such as transnationalism and diasporas in IR. Furthermore, crucial are the consequences that international migration involves for regionalism and cosmopolitanism, or for interstate cooperation, sustainable development and inequalities. Newly studied is instead the nexus between migration and climate change. For all of the intersections that exist between migration, nationalism, inequalities and interethnic relations, human mobility has often entailed a relevant bulk of action by part of both state and non-state actors. The role of civil society, NGOs and social movements, along with the policies, practices, techniques, speech acts and performances of state actors, have often been at the core of innovative analysis that have contributed to further expanding the understanding and perspectives of international studies.

ST08 International Practices

Section Chairs: Ingvild Bode & Frank Gadinger

International Practice Theory (IPT) has proven to be one of the most innovative research programs in International Relations. Outlining and developing novel concepts and frameworks and a renewed interest in methodology, it has led to new kinds of empirical material on world political phenomena. This section invites scholars interested in international practices and IPT to take stock, to review ongoing research projects and reflect on conceptual vocabularies, but also to discuss the frontiers of international practice research. Several themes are in focus of the section. Firstly, how IPT enables productive cross-disciplinary discussions with other social sciences, the humanities and even the natural sciences. Secondly, how the attention of practice-oriented scholars to concrete and observable practices that shape everyday world politics allows for integrating into IR research methodologies, such as abduction, participant observation, or ethnography. Thirdly, how such research methodologies provide an empirical ground for new forms of theorizing world politics as spatially and temporally situated phenomenon. Fourthly, addressing ontological challenges such as the relation of practices to power, reflexivity, critique, visuality, technology, or normativity. We particularly welcome contributions that focus on methods or discuss the relationship between IPT and related frameworks and disciplines such as pragmatism, anthropology, assemblage theory, actor-network theory, science and technology studies, or narrative and visual approaches.

ST09 International Relations in the Anthropocene

Section Chairs: David Chandler & Delf Rothe

The Anthropocene has become a major concern for scholars of international politics and one that, for many authors, fundamentally destabilizes much of the traditional disciplinary concerns and assumptions. The crisis brought about by rising temperatures and sea levels goes well beyond the physical impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic environmental changes. The Anthropocene is a crisis of government – as established modes of governance seem increasingly inappropriate to deal with the complex and unbounded political problems we see emerging. Furthermore, the Anthropocene is a crisis of Western ethics and political theory – as established anthropocentric norms, institutions and values appear increasingly problematic and outdated. Finally, the Anthropocene is a crisis of imagination, as Amitav Gosh crucially reminds us, since it becomes increasingly difficult to imagine any alternative to the current path of fossil-fuels based consumption and destruction.

The proposed section is devoted to the multiple engagements of IR scholars with the notion of the Anthropocene. It provides a space to think through the new forms of political agency and governance that we see emerging in the Anthropocene. It fosters critical discussions of the concept – for example from decolonial, feminist, and/or poststructuralist perspectives – and invites proposals for thinking the Anthropocene differently. It reflects upon the technological dimension of the Anthropocene and engages with the implications of posthumanism beyond the realm of ecology (for example in the realm of AI and other emerging technologies). Finally, it includes methodological discussions and fosters new and creative approaches to studying international politics.

ST10 International Society

Section Chairs: Thomas Diez & Peter Wilson

This section brings together researchers who are interested in the analysis of the international realm as a society, its institutions and norms, as well as their development. It wants to encourage debates about the historical development and present nature of the international society and international order, how its norms and institutions emerged and developed, its relations with world society, and its challenges. We value both analytical and normative approaches. Thus, we are, for instance, interested in analyses of how different types of institutions relate to each other and how they affect the behaviour of states and other actors, as much as we want to encourage normative and critical engagement with the current world order and its ongoing transformations. This includes, for instance, analyses of the tensions between pluralism and solidarism or between the global and regional international societies, or studies of the shifting distribution of power and its effects on international society and its institutions. While some of these issues are at the heart of the so-called “English School” of International Relations, we find them in many other theories and approaches, including Social Constructivism, Systems Theory, Institutionalism and various Critical Theories. We thus see the study of international society as a bridge between many IR approaches, and encourage a pluralism of methodologies. For 2022, we are particularly interested in paper and panel proposals that analyse the transformations of international society in the face of global threats and challenges.


ST11 Political Economy Beyond Boundaries

Section Chairs: Burak Tansel & Lisa Tilley

The section aims to develop a sustained research network of scholars working in and beyond International Studies to promote critical research on the global political economy. Grounded in recent calls to diversify the disciplinary focus of (International) Political Economy, the section will offer a home for scholars to study contemporary capitalism and its gendered and racialised operation at the global, local and household levels. The section aims to advance an explicitly “global” outlook for political economy research in contrast to the existing Eurocentric framework of IPE. To this end, we will prioritise and feature knowledge produced in and for the global South, and utilise the section as a means to design meaningful collaborations between scholars in the global South and North.

ST12 Popular Culture and World Politics

Section Chairs: David Mutimer & Simon Philpott

Over the past decade there has been a growing community of scholars concerned with the ‘popular culture and world politics continuum’.  Framing the research agenda as a continuum implies popular culture and world politics are mutually implicated.  Some argue popular culture reflects world politics and so provides a novel entry point to research and teaching where, for example, Hollywood cinema is used to illustrate theoretical or conceptual arguments. Approaching popular culture as a continuum facilitates a far richer research agenda because it recognises popular culture constitutes world politics: popular culture is world politics.  However, world politics also conditions and constrains popular culture.  A surprisingly diverse community of scholars has built a foundational, transformative research programme that is complex, multifaceted, and which cuts across traditional divisions within International Studies. The Section would continue to focus on the emerging research programme of Popular Culture and World Politics, which continues to be one of the most innovative new research programmes in critical international studies. Many ECRs have invested in PCWP related sections and we will strive to continue to be an inclusive environment for ECRs, building on the diversity that characterizes the PCWP research community. In addition, it would invite panels with an explicitly pedagogical focus, as popular culture and world politics is entering the curriculum of universities across Europe and around the world, and so there is an appetite for a collective consideration of PCWP pedagogy.

ST13 Science, Technology and Security

Section Chairs: Matthias Leese & Dagmar Rychnovská

Security policy and security practices can hardly be imagined without science and technology. Political programs foster the development of technoscientific security tools, and science and technology are often presented as drivers for behavioral and institutional change, as they enhance or curb actor capacities. Thinking about the science, technology, and security is however complicated by the political work and ambiguity of innovations. Science and technology can be conceived as threats just as well as means for security production – and sometimes even as both at the same time (think for instance of drones and how they can be used by different actors for physical attacks, reconnaissance, or rescue).

IR scholars have more recently explored novel ways to conceptualize and study science, technology and security within the international, including – but not limited to – approaches from STS, sociology, anthropology, assemblage theory, and new materialist philosophy. The aim of this section is to encourage conceptual, methodological and empirical work informed by critical thinking and creative theorizing along these lines. We thus invite contributions that explore the interplay of science, technology and security across different domains such as warfare and the military, counterterrorism and intelligence cooperation, the regulation of global mobility and borders, science diplomacy, dual-use research, and others.

ST14 Small States in World Politics

Section Chairs: Anders Wivel & Revecca Pedi

The aim of this section is to address the big questions in world politics from the perspective of small states. It seeks to gain in-depth knowledge about small states security in war and peace, their approaches in cooperation and conflict, their strategies of survival and influence, the interplay between the domestic and the external environment in the international relations of small states, their norms and practices in international politics. Its mission is to  provide a forum for a growing but fragmented field of study in the International Relations discipline and stimulate a research agenda in a field that despite recent steps forward remains largely repetitive and parochial. We invite papers and panels on any topic concerning the international relations of small states in Europe and beyond. We consider of particular interest studies exploring the strategies small states employ to respond to the changing nature of world politics and examining the vulnerabilities and opportunities small states are facing due to rising uncertainty in the international system. We welcome scholarship investigating the particularities of the international relations of small states and the lessons that can be learnt from the efforts of small states to successfully navigate a competitive world despite their limited resources. We encourage contributions by both senior and emerging scholars providing innovative theoretical and/or empirical insights. The section advances academic pluralism in theories and methodologies but also in terms of gender and geographical representation

ST15 Visual IR

Section Chairs: Rune Saugmann & Gabi Schlag

Visual International Relations (IR) is an internationally growing field of academic research, political critique and aesthetic practice. Past work in this field has shown how our understanding of international relations, security and world politics is enhanced by paying attention to vision, visuality and visuals. We invite scholars interested in deepening our engagement with how different international and global political phenomena such as migration, climate change, human rights, gender, and war are visually mediated and constituted, and in reflecting on how different visual technologies from oil paint to computer vision intervene in the political. We encourage contributors to engage as well as employ different media such as photography, computer-generated images, film, graphic novels, video and painting.

Theoretical and methodological contributions that critically reflect the merits and challenges of Visual IR are gaining terrain in journals and edited volumes. We invite contributions that deepens this engagement by addressing vision, visuality, visibility, and visuals in IR in unexpected, theoretically informed and methodologically reflected ways. Contributions that investigate the normativity of vision and (in)visibility are particularly welcome, as are contributions to enhance our teaching practices and to think about IR in terms of creativity.

ST16 Agrarian Orders and Transformations: Disruptions in Agraria

Section Chairs: Felix Anderl & Inanna Hamati-Ataya

The twenty-first century marked a profound transition in our history, as the majority of humans now inhabit urban environments and rely for their subsistence on a minority of rural labourers expected to sustain the needs of a growing world population in unsustainable conditions of life and production, governed by the economic and normative rules of an asymmetrical global food regime. Future life chances will be determined by the political ability to capture ongoing transformations in our agrarian paradigm and rectify the course that appears to be leading to societal collapse. This section invites panel and paper proposals that address major global threats, crises, and challenges facing systems of agricultural and food production, and their influence on the stability and sustainability of human society more generally. We are interested in mapping out agrarian orders and transformations: historical, current, and future patterns and processes of asymmetrical societal and economic development in agrarian life-systems. We are especially interested in the theme of disruption: How have agrarian orders been disrupted, e.g. by imperial, colonial, and neoliberal policies deployed at regional and global scales? What are the consequences of the unequal distributions of natural and technological resources, unequal protections from physical, economic, and environmental harm, and long-standing structural inequalities? How do these violently established orders disrupt traditional forms of life and sustainable agrarian solutions? And how are the agrarian orders created by these disruptions disrupted yet again by strategies of resistance and solidarity that delineate hopeful futures with alternative, non-exploitative modes of agricultural production?

This section is sponsored by the Centre for Global Knowledge Studies (gloknos).


ST17 Blue Turn: The Politics of Oceans and Polar Regions

Section Chairs: Hannes Hansen-Magnusson & Anja Menzel

Covering around three quarters of the planet, oceans and polar regions are spaces of utmost international importance. As a key component of climate systems and provider of scarce resources such as oil, gas, or fish, their integrity matters globally. Meanwhile, the frequently invoked apocalyptic, but all too realistic scenarios of collapsing oceans and melting ice depict the fragility of oceans and polar regions and emphasize the uncertain future of theses spaces. Yet, until recently the politics of oceans and polar regions have received significantly less analytical attention than their land-based counterparts. Notwithstanding, the need to focus on these spaces is underlined by the variety of relevant policy fields which are affected by maritime and polar crises: Climate change threatens the ecological health of oceans and polar regions and subsequently the sustenance of coastal and indigenous people, while the fragility of maritime infrastructure became obvious not only when the Suez Canal was blocked but is also a key point of tension in the South China Sea and in relation to counter-piracy measures. Although some unique governance arrangements have been established in the realm of ocean and polar politics – such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System or the Arctic Council – governing these spaces in a time of crises remains challenging. This section thus seeks to enhance the recent ‘blue turn’ in global politics by scrutinising social and political responses to the multitude of crises oceans and polar regions face in the 21st century.


ST18 Contestation in International Politics

Section Chairs: Flavia Lucenti & Cecilia Ducci

The section aims to discuss and enhance innovative approaches to assessing contestation in International Relations (IR) in the transit towards a multipolar era. Despite the existence of a vast literature, surprisingly, important blind spots remain in IR theory when investigating contestation. There is indeed little consensus on the definition of contestation as well as on the identification of the actors who are currently disputing international institutions and practices. In this regard, this section encourages the debate over the existence of different types of contestation – discursive and behavioural contestation, but also justificatory or applicatory contestation –, and the role of the contesting actors. In addition to this, the literature is yet to share a consensus on the impact of contestation on the strength of norms, a potential source for international instability. Thus, this section focuses on how contestation affects the legitimacy of current norms and institutions and the consequences this has in terms of the stability of the liberal international order. More specifically, it aims to understand whether the contestation over the liberal international order is paving the way towards an increasingly multipolar order and, in particular, whether this may lead to greater instability. This section therefore contributes to the theme of the conference by providing an overview of the potential scenarios and “apocalyptic imaginaries” that derive from the contestation over the international liberal order. The section invites papers that push the boundaries of our knowledge on the topic from an original theoretical but also an empirical perspective, dealing with the contestation from both non-Western states – contestation from outside – and Western states – contestation from within. Empirically, promising angles for further research also include the effect of contestation carried out by non-state actors. The scope of the section is also that of developing a sustained network of researchers working on contestation in IR to collaborate on an ongoing basis.

ST19 Infrastructural Spaces and Disruptions of the Global Order: Crises of Circulation and Circulating Crises

Section Chairs: Jutta Bakonyi & Shrey Kapoor

Capitalism promotes and expands circulation, but also requires political regulation to keep disruptive mobilities in check. This section invites papers that investigate the material, spatial and technological underpinnings of the international and contributes to the materialization of IR from an empirical and theoretical perspective. It engages with spaces, materials, and technologies as empirical problematic and discusses the ontological, epistemological, and methodological implications of a material approach to IR and related disciplines. The section is especially interested in papers that engage with the emergence of  nodes (cities, ports, extraction sites, free zones) and other spatio-technological arrangements that facilitate flows, and in papers that study the effects of circulatory crises across space, time, and scales. Crisis can bring to light otherwise invisible patterns of domination and subordination. They can also highlight how ruling elites and their opponents employ circulatory disruptions to press for change. Focusing on nodal points where crises of circulation and the circulation of crises congeal, the proposed section explores the fragile dynamics of circulation, its techno-material underpinnings (infrastructures) and the socio-spatial and political relations in which circulation is embedded. Engaging with the (international) government of mobilities and flows, it also invites papers that investigate how circulatory crises are identified, made, and managed from an empirical and theoretical perspective and how both circulations and circulatory crises contribute to globally changing geographies of state power.

ST20 International Political Design: Making World Politics Differentl

Section Chairs: Jonathan Austin & Anna Leander

What do the majority of social scientists studying world politics do? They read. They write. Some run numbers. Some go to archives. Some head to the field. That’s what most scholars of world politics do. But what if we – instead – imagined a student of world politics standing in a factory, at the end of a production line? Or sitting at an architect’s desk, sketching? Or in a workshop, crafting objects? This is hard to imagine because, well, that’s just not what the vast majority of social scientists exploring world affairs do at the moment. This section is orientated around growing interest within International Relations (IR) to bringing these alternative forms of practice into the heart of the discipline. It asks what it would mean if non-textual and non-logocentric forms of design, craft, and making were deployed both as novel forms of research and as means of normatively and politically intervening into world politics. Drawing broadly from across science and technology studies, international political sociology, feminist theory, (critical and speculative) design, postcolonial theory, pragmatist sociology, and beyond, the ethos of the section is captured in the idea that ‘making is thinking’ and that – thus – expanding our modes of making has the potential to produce radically distinct forms of knowledge and insight into the international. We encourage submissions from all those who have deployed or are interested in exploring the (methodological, conceptual, etc.) potential of different forms of design, craft, and making, whether material, digital, computational, artistic, visual, or beyond.

ST21 Global Law and Politics

Section Chairs: Filipe Dos Reis & Maj Grasten

Law and legal bodies form a key part of the structure of international relations. Yet, legal norms, concepts, jurisdictional boundaries and legal bodies are increasingly contested by various public and private actors globally. This section invites contributions that explore the intersection of law and politics in international relations, including their impact on domestic law and practice. It draws together scholars from different disciplinary fields who share an interest in the role of law in global politics and governance. This includes studies concerned with the history of the relationship between law and politics and particular legal regimes, such as sovereignty and human rights, as well as ways in which transnational, international and global law is practiced and problematized today across diverse institutional fields.


S01 COVID-19 as a Collective Trauma in Global Politics: Disruption, Destruction, and Resilience in Times of Pandaemonium

Section Chairs: Erica Resende & Fabricio Chagas-Bastos

Collective traumatic experiences such as war and genocide affect the ways in which states and non-state actors construct biographical narratives about themselves and engage in meaningful relations with the other actors in international politics. They become the backbones of stories about mass suffering and resistance, thus providing a sense of collective identity. These traumatic events are also ruptures in national meaning-making, capable of shattering routines and expectations for nationally bounded communities. COVID-19, however, has claimed millions of lives and caused mass suffering globally. The pandemic has been both destructive and disruptive for billions of people, was it qualitatively different from other national collective traumas, such as war or genocide? Was the pandemic capable of creating a true, global collective trauma? Drawing on the growing body of literature on trauma and memory in International Relations, this section sets out to explore COVID-19 as a global trauma in international politics. It promises to focus on various dimensions of this global traumatic experience: political (How does this traumatic experience correlate with previous traumas? How have communities responded to its global, traumatic effect?), cultural (How has COVID-19 generated new discourses? How are new collective remembrance practices created?), socio-economic (How have developments in international economics associated with COVID-19 affected the collective experiences of trauma?), emotional (How feelings of uncertainty, fear and anguish affected political behaviour in dealing with the pandemic?), intersectionality (How has COVID-19 as a trauma affected differently the Global South, minorities, women, people of colour, and indigenous people?).

S02 Encounters of the Classical Approach with the Apocalypse

Section Chairs: Konstantinos Kostagiannis & Keith Smith

This section draws its inspiration from a family of approaches to international relations that Hedley Bull once called the “classical approach.” Classical liberalism, classical realism, and the English School developed in – and are closely associated with – periods of upheaval and uncertainty. The multiple crises of the mid-twentieth century were characterised by intense anxiety and – quite often – a feeling of impending doom. In their different ways, the various strands within the classical approach tried to face and resolve the challenges presented by humanity’s entry to the 20th century. They did so by employing historical analysis and by remaining focused on ethical dilemmas and the normative foundations of international order. The challenges facing the mid-twentieth century like technological acceleration, socio-economic turmoil, nationalism, nuclear proliferation, and the spectre of a new large-scale conflict amongst great powers are as prescient today as they were then, albeit sometimes in novel manifestations. By looking back at previous encounters of international theory with challenges to human survival and by fostering a dialogue between the classical approach and different perspectives to contemporary challenges like post-colonialism, green theory, and feminism the section aspires at invigorating the classical approach and establishing its relevance for the new times of turmoil we now face. 

We welcome panels and papers interrogating the continuous relevance of the classical approach and its variants, uncovering the historical origins of the apocalyptic imaginary, exploring classically inflected responses to contemporary manifestations of declinism, and cultivating the conversation between the classical approach and contemporary approaches to international theory.

S03 EU Foreign and Security Policy, its Partners and Rivals in the 21st Century

Section Chairs: Kamil Zwolski & Monika Sus

Here is one paradox of International Relations: While it is time to stop obsessing with EU foreign and security policy, it has never been more important to take the study of this topic more seriously. What we mean is that gone are the days when we could get blissfully lost in the study of the most arcane institutional aspects of Common Foreign and Security Policy, almost forgetting about the outside world. Today, instead, we must take the study of EU foreign and security policy more seriously than ever before, but it is because of, and not in addition to, the broader geopolitical developments of our time.

This section will bring together panels and papers revisiting EU foreign and security policy, and how developments in this policy area relate to the key geopolitical issues directly affecting the EU in the world. These include, but are not limited to, the rise of China as a geopolitical player, resurging Russia, the role of smaller, weaker or peripheral states in European geopolitics or the uncertainty of NATO and transatlantic partnership. We invite both ‘inside-out’ and ‘outside-in’ papers. The first category includes papers revisiting the theoretical and empirical developments in EU foreign and security policy and how they relate to the broader challenges EU faces. The second category includes papers, which mainly focus on the geopolitical issues such as the ones mentioned above, and how they link to EU foreign and security policy.

S04 Exorcising/Exercising Old Demons? Realist Thought, Theory, and Analysis in Times of Change

Section Chairs: Gustav Meibauer & Alexander Reichwein

Realism continues to be considered one of IR’s mainstream approaches. And yet, frequently, realism is criticized as out-of-date – a child of the Interwar Period and, in its neorealist variants, the Cold War. This criticism is especially relevant in times of change, and as (seemingly) new challenges to international order permeate policy and scholarly agendas, whether global warming, pandemics, populism, or terrorism. Realist attempts at updating their theoretical toolkit in response to apocalyptic turmoil have in turn been criticized as degenerative and inconsistent. In this depiction, realism has long outlived its use. And yet, the re-emergence of great power rivalry, advances in military technology, and the continued relevance of interstate competition have repeatedly triggered renewed interest in realist analyses and prescriptions.

Against this background of theoretical and empirical contestation, we invite submissions from scholars of all subfields who engage with the realist tradition, be they realists , scholars of realist thought, or its critics. Article and panel submissions investigate the following themes: 1) the history/genesis of the realist tradition; 2) different realist approaches, including neorealism, realist constructivism, and/or neoclassical realism, with a focus on theoretical innovations and shortcomings; 3) realist theorizing of international politics and/or foreign policy in times of change(s), by throwing new light at “traditionally realist” questions and concepts (e.g., war, alliances), and/or considering if and how realism advances our understanding of other challenges (e.g., climate change, pandemics, populism); 4) the “return” of great power politics, and/or the future of world or regional order(s), 5) specific actors’ foreign policies (including in cases beyond the Global North).

S05 Future as Method Beyond Dys/Utopia - rethinking IR, dreaming of the apocalypse

Section Chairs: Ayşem Mert & Laura Horn


Two emergencies will shape international relations in years to come: the Covid-19 global public health emergency, as well as the climate and ecological emergency. Social and political responses to these emergencies were radically different, even though these crises relate to each other in complex and densely overdetermined conjunctures that draw on transformations in interrelated scientific, economic and cultural spheres. What is regarded as possible public policy, acceptable risk, or responsible behaviour has been transformed. The greatest fears and political desires of citizens have changed, and accordingly, what we expect from decision-making and hope for the future of our societies. Around each one of these emergencies several utopian, dystopian, and even apocalyptic socio-political, economic and ecological imaginaries have developed both in fiction and in science. These emergent imaginaries of the future and new fantasmatic orders connecting the global to the micropolitical will undoubtedly underlie the political changes in the coming years and should be systematically studied.

Imaginaries of a post-pandemic world order in which climate crisis is an ongoing phenomenon provides International Relations with a new concern but also what we argue to be a new methodological possibility. “Taking the future seriously” without consorting to positivist and rationalist approaches that eventually build reductionist models in order to imperfectly predict the future is increasingly popular among IR scholars who study fiction, popular culture, metaphors and policy narratives. Writing new open imaginaries, with the existing trends as a guideline has also been done in a few occasions. Our goal is to learn from various studies of future imaginaries that have been produced in the last five years, e.g. the psychoanalytic, posthuman, critical political economy, and Anthropocene approaches, and connect the various emergent strands of the discipline. This allows for a new research agenda that at once addresses the complexity of global political relations and the ways in which trans/inter/anti-disciplinary research can help us decipher a future-oriented thinking towards a future that is open-ended and desirable.

S06 Global Climate Contestations: From denial efforts to shaping policy?

Section Chairs: Dieter Plehwe & Ruth McKie

The Paris Agreement to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius continues to give headaches to a variety of social actors. Global institutions like the International Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations’ Environmental Program have been at the center of controversies regarding climate science and policy proposals. Negotiating government representatives are under pressure from climate activists on the one hand, and from (fossil) business interests on the other. While some progress has been made at the latest round of negotiations in Glasgow in 2021, the opposition to ambitious mitigation and transnational adaptation efforts is evidenced by the watering down of language regarding coal-phase-out and limited willingness to commit to sufficient climate finance from richer countries most responsible for the historical emission record. Moreover, further evidence of opposition to ambitious mitigation included the overrepresentation of fossil industry representatives outnumbering other delegations. This section calls for panels and papers addressing (the recent history of) the mobilization of counterforces against ambitious mitigation around the world including corporations and industry groups, consulting and other lobby service providers, think tanks and academic experts working on behalf of constituencies involved in challenging the need for ambitious mitigation and relevant policy strategies and instruments needed to meet the Paris obligations. A specific focus will be on the global network of think tanks linked to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

S07 Inclusive and Resilient Global Economic Governance in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Section Chairs: Karina Jędrzejowska & Anna Wrobel

The last decades have been marked by the rise of numerous challenges to the global economic order. These include, among others, the crisis of multilateral institutions, the socioeconomic effects of technological progress and digitization, increasing gender and income inequalities, unsustainable development, and the emergence of new economic powers. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought about new challenges, but also reinforced the earlier negative developments in global economic governance. The pandemic increased the level of uncertainty in the world economy and contributed to a partial reversal of global economic integration, a process often referred to as deglobalization, which, in effect, disrupts global trade, finance, and development. Inclusiveness in the global economy appears to be one of the areas where the pandemic unveiled new problem areas (e.g., vaccine distribution, effects of the pandemics on women). However, inclusiveness is also the issue that during the pandemic became a focal point of debate on the future of global economic governance.

Given the above, the section seeks towards a multidisciplinary approach towards analyzing the new and old challenges and deficiencies in global economic governance mechanisms. In particular, the section intends to look at the long-term changes in the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also aims to provide respective policy recommendations for a more inclusive and resilient global economic governance. By addressing multiple challenges to global economic governance, the papers in this section will contribute to a better understanding and conceptualization of equality, diversity, and inclusion within the governance of the global economy.

S08 Interrogating Political Violence and Social Movements: Militancy, Movements and Mobilisation

Section Chairs: Cerwyn Moore & Mark Youngman

Political violence and conflict are central features of international studies. However, as ways to interrogate political violence, in-depth knowledge about social movements and transnational activism, or insights from Area Studies, remain marginalised in contemporary international studies. This section adapts and applies theoretical and analytic approaches from Social Movement Theory (SMT), research on transnational activism and Area Studies to examine imaginaries and political violence. The section will explore the transformative and destabilising potential of ideological imaginaries. It will explore the challenges these imaginaries engender in different historical, interpretive, critical, and social perspectives. To this end, the section will include theoretical and empirical panels which examine mobilisation and militancy from different perspectives and locations. How have violent social movements or various leaders, activists, and actors employed imaginaries? What are the methodological implications of interrogating apocalyptic ideologies? How are contemporary configurations of authority and power challenged by militants, activists, movement leaders, or State actors who seek to establish alternative concentrations of power and emergency rule? How are international actors shaping different forms of order, and what are the implications for governance in other regions? The section will bring together Early Career Researchers and Mid-Career Scholars in a series of panels to interrogate these issues. The proposed Section will include five panels.

S09 Leaving (No) Traces: The Practices and Politics of Archiving beyond the Western Stat

Section Chairs: Monique J. Beerli & Nora El Qadim

Charting multiple articulations between archive and power, this section problematizes the archive as an object of study and interrogates archival practices in postcolonial, supranational, and transnational contexts, thus far largely overlooked. Despite a gradual return of historically-oriented IR, notably culminating in the articulation of Historical International Relations (HIR) and Global Historical Sociology (GHS) approaches, IR scholars concede little importance to the power and politics of archiving-as-practice. Long theorized as spaces of power by historians and anthropologists who have diligently traced the state-making power and category-producing effects of archives, notably in colonial contexts, archives represent more than just sources from which stories and facts can be extracted. Collections of texts, photographs, films, and audio recordings in tangible or digital forms, archives are constituted through a process whereby “ordinary” documents and artefacts are deemed “archivable,” that is worth keeping and conserving. With the emergence of new technologies facilitating archival production, from camera telephones to digital image scanners and open-access archiving software, the power to make and keep archives now extends well beyond the most resourceful and organized bureaucracies, with issues of categorization and access remaining central–thereby opening up new sites of inquiry. If archives can be apprehended as participating in the construction of the “modern” states and bureaucracies, counter-archiving invites investigations into modes of contesting hegemonic (state) narratives. Documenting the (re)making of archives in various contexts, this section welcomes submissions that rethink the archive by attending to its institutional, organizational, material, and affective dimensions.

S10 Mikhail Bakhtin and International Relations

Section Chairs: Elizaveta Gaufman & Anatoly Reshetnikov

Amidst the pervasive “chaos and unruliness,” triggered by the apocalyptic global challenges of our time, the IR community seems prepared to abandon the convenient certainty of its theoretical dogmas. Urged by the recent events, it seeks to understand and conceptualize the “carnivalesque phantasmagorias of creative destruction and salutary violence” occurring all over.

Yet, the classic who created a framework for analyzing precisely those moments of temporary suspension and inversion of normative order is still not a staple in our discipline. Even though his work has been occasionally applied to international relations theory, Russian philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin is far from the household IR name. It is time to make it so: not only his carnival framework is fruitful in analyzing contemporary configurations of authority, tricksters, populist Zeitgeist and social movements, his other work is helpful to discuss dialogism, ethics, and epistemology in the discipline.

A more general and sinister consequence of a long-lasting carnival is related to governance. Сarnival is supposed to be a temporary phenomenon functioning as a safety valve for the dispossessed. Yet, sometimes, it may become the instrument of power, as happened in the Postcolony, according to Mbembe, and – more recently – in the US. Permanent carnival leads to norm decay and erosion of liberal-republican institutions both within the US as well as outside that will have long-lasting effect. While many pundits had hoped that Trump would become more presidential, his time in office has shown that a long-term carnivalesque reversal is detrimental to the foundational principles of democracy.

S11 Multiplicity, Zeits, and Geists: The Politics of Inter-Societal and Inter-Temporal World-Making

Section Chairs: Benjamin Tallis & Aleksandra Spalinska

Reckoning with the apocalyptic imaginaries of our time is an urgent task. So too is comprehending the legacies of their predecessors, as well as the utopian and progressive visions with which they co-exist(ed) and contend(ed). None of these imaginaries, nor their related constellations of discourses, practices and spatio-materialities, can be properly understood without exploring their inter-societal as well as inter-temporal dimensions. As a theory, Multiplicity is well suited to taking on this task. It can apprehend the many daemons, angels and Others in IR’s Boschean/Bruegelian gallery by exploring how our societies and temporalities co-exist, differentiate, interact, combine and change (relationally) to produce these fantastic visions, phantasms and their very real and highly uneven effects. And vice versa. This PEC section seeks to explore the politics of these, variously, competing and complementary visions and realities, by turning Multiplicity to this purpose. It thus also develops the Multiplicity research programme itself, building on its ‘establishment of a new common ground for IR’ and exploration of IR’s disciplinary potential, and broaden its outlook by explicitly addressing the politics of inter-temporality and world-making. This in turn raises the possibility of tackling unresolved questions concerning multiple modernities – and what comes (or came) after. We thus bring together – and invite proposals by – scholars from across the spectrum of IR (and beyond) that engage with Multiplicity to better illuminate discursive, practice-based, material, ideational, experiential, mnemonic, narrative or other aspects of our hopes and fears – and their (international) political manifestations, implications, underpinnings and (potential) utility.

S12 New Intelligence Studies: Multiplicity, Interdisciplinarity, Reflexivity

Section Chairs: Hager Ben Jaffel & Sebastian Larsson

In today’s unruly and unpredictable world, intelligence has moved far beyond the conventional operations of intelligence services, beyond espionage and national security, and into the areas of counterterrorism, surveillance, and policing. Intelligence is hence at the heart of the various socio-economic, technological, democratic, and existential challenges currently facing our societies. It has become a heterogeneous practice, overlapping more and more with the broader field of security, and involving a multiplicity of professionals such as data analysts, law enforcement, and border guards, as well as a range of actors who are not immediately seen as ‘doing’ intelligence yet interface with it when they come to define or contest it, such as politicians, lawyers, and whistle-blowers. At the same time, the traditional intelligence services remain important, but their priorities have increasingly shifted from extracting or protecting state secrets to sharing intelligence in old as well as new geopolitical alliances and conducting mass surveillance on citizens across the globe using advanced digital technologies and AI. These broad social and political transformations of intelligence challenge the conventional ‘problematisation’ within Intelligence Studies (IS) and prompt a new and expanded research agenda. This section builds on existing efforts to develop an interdisciplinary research agenda on contemporary intelligence by taking its professionals and practices as the immediate point of departure. We invite panels, roundtables, and papers across the spectrum of IR (and beyond) that challenge orthodox understandings of intelligence in IS scholarship, that take a fresh look at intelligence services through methodological and theoretical approaches centring on their professionals and practices, or that bring in entirely new actors, objects, targets, or empirical sites into the study of contemporary intelligence.

S13 Non-Eurocentric Explorations of Global IR

Section Chairs: Anahita Arian & John M. Hobson

In the last few decades, a rising literature has deconstructed the Eurocentric, racist, and/or imperialist tenets of various International Relations (IR) theories, concepts and histories. This deconstruction has simultaneously been paralleled by the endeavor of globalizing international relations in multiple ways. Various approaches, initiatives and studies have consequently been undertaken with the aim of making IR as a field more inclusive through the inclusion of (non-Western) voices that have been silenced, neglected and obscured due to the field’s Eurocentrism and provincialism. At the same time, some scholars have also problematized the ways in which IR has sought to be ‘globalized’. This section builds upon this scholarship and seeks to push the boundaries of the current debate by exploring new vistas and terrains. It welcomes, therefore, contributions that seek to globalize, pluralize, and/or pluriversalize IR conceptually, theoretically, intellectually, historically, cosmologically and/or empirically in non-Eurocentric ways and focus on one or more of the following themes: the birth of the discipline beyond Europe; examinations of non-Western experiences, agency, histories, concepts, cosmologies and theories of international relations and global politics; studies of the entanglements, interactions and reciprocities between the West and non-West, across the Global North and Global South, and/or between non-Western actors that have shaped and re-shaped one another in the last 500 years on conceptual, theoretical, intellectual, cultural, cosmological, historical, social, economic and/or political planes; and finally, contributions that rethink and reflect on the possibilities and limits of globalizing IR in non-Eurocentric ways.

S14 Political Existentialism: Fear, Anxiety and Freedom in the face of the Apocalypse

Section Chairs: Bahar Rumelili & Uriel Abulof

A spectre is haunting humanity—the spectre of a global ruin that is very much of our own doing. The  mounting dangers that we face are not only existential in scope -meaning threatening humanity’s existence in totality, but also existential in the sense of putting our very humanness at stake.

To help address and redress these existential problems, theoretically and empirically, this section introduces existentialism to political science, and explores its merits and limitations. We broadly define Political Existentialism (PolEx) as the study of politics which foregrounds the distinct features of our humanness, namely the existential anxieties that stem from our living in awareness of our mortality and in search of meaning for our existence.

We seek to explore in this section how these distinct features of humanity condition the responses of individuals, groups, and states to lurking dangers, ranging from climate change and pandemics, through AI and nuclear weapons, to populism and overpopulation. We invite panels that theoretically and empirically assess

whether, why and how existentialism may offer a fresh agenda for political science in general, and IR in particular.

We especially welcome contributions that explore the intersection of political existentialism with critical approaches to security in IR, focusing on the evolving constructions of risk, threat, and danger and the multiplying ontological insecurities in the face of growing existential uncertainties. Additionally, we are interested in contributions that draw on political existentialism to identify new grounds of subjectivity and agency which transcend the ideological impasse of liberalism versus populism.

S15 Political Theology as Practice

Section Chairs: John-Harmen Valk & Mustapha Pasha

Over the past two decades, International Relations (IR) scholarship has underscored how religious actors shape the international realm, unsettling entrenched disciplinary narratives about secularization. More recent IR scholarship has gone further by shifting the focus away from religion as a socio-political object of study towards the way purportedly secular international political thought is shot through with theological motifs. This shift has materialized under the banner of political theology, providing new modes of interpretation and analysis of political realities. The uneven experiences of and differential responses to contemporary global challenges and international crises have been deeply conditioned by socio-political imaginaries and the practices that flow from and shape them. In as much as these imaginaries and practices, replete with varying temporal horizons of urgency at times even apocalyptic in nature, are entangled in more fundamental ontological and metaphysical assumptions, they can be considered political theological in nature.

This section extends the political theological conversation, and it does so in two important respects. First, it directs attention to the level of embodiment and of socio-political practices out of a recognition that the IR political theology conversation has largely unfolded at the level of the history of ideas. This singular focus on ideas is problematic to the extent that it reinforces a reductive notion of the political theological problematic as pertaining to the level of belief. Second, the panel brings into dialogue emergent IR explorations of the political theological in non-Western traditions with political theological conversations within the hegemonic Western tradition. Such dialogue can further reveal the importance of embodied practice to explorations of the political theological problematic internationally.

S16 Reconsidering the ‘Local’ Beyond Binary Thought

Section Chairs: Joana Ricarte & Ana Isabel Rodríguez Iglesias

Following the failure of international interventions in conflict-torn societies after the end of the Cold War, scholars and practitioners embraced the idea of consulting with local communities to build a more sustainable and inclusive peace. Critics of the so-called local turn pointed out that the inclusion of local communities and bottom-up perspectives has become merely a checking point for international organizations to comply with some specific standards; and a way to co-opt ‘the local’ into international projects, seeing locals as a homogenous and malleable whole, and ignoring the power dynamics also existing at the local level.

Most approaches continue to see the debate in binary terms, “international vs. local”, by looking at the idea of local ownership either as a solution from the international community – a technical procedure to improve results and efficiency-, or as an emancipatory goal that  idealizes a possible solution such as enduring peace or security. There still lack approaches that envision local ownership in pluralistic ways beyond deterministic emancipatory goals or technical perspectives.

This section invites papers that address questions regarding the relational ontologies of ‘the locals’ and that open the discussion about local ownership in innovative ways in the fields of peace, security, transitional justice and identity studies. Contributions may seek to answer, but are not limited to, the following questions: How can we rethink ‘the locals’ as a plurality of subjects and communities that are not predefined from the outside? In which ways are ‘the locals’ remaining in the time-space continuum of peace and conflict?

S17 Situating Disaster, (In)Security, and (Counter)Extremism in a World in Crisis

Section Chairs: Tom Pettinger & Alice Martini

Apocalyptic imaginaries are often used to legitimize the implementation of security measures to counter and prevent extremism, and situate “Dangerous Others” as posing an existential future threat. Yet these security practices and norms (re)produce hierarchies of inclusions and exclusions in international politics. Neoliberal economic exploitation, ecocide, and warfare have generated death and untold suffering around the world – and significant resistance. In this sense, scrutinizing the rise of (what is situated as) “extremism”, and analysing security practices like counter-radicalization measures, allows us to reflect on power relations across/between the Global North and the Global South. This section therefore interrogates whose voices are considered radical or extreme, what constitutes disaster, and how extremism and disaster are governed, within the “pandemonic present”.

The panel and roundtable discussions investigate how particular disruptive moments and actors are securitized (from “jihadist” violence to environmental protest), and how systemic disruptive crises are maintained and legitimized (from state violence to environmental destruction). These analyses in turn illuminate the racialized, gendered, and class-oriented nature of colonial modernity, and reveal how colonial logics are embedded within responses to disaster. By rethinking hegemonic understandings of violence, extremism, and security, the section makes visible the discrepancies and disjunctures built into contemporary forms of disaster-politics. Investigating which forms of disruption are made seen as inside-or-outside the norm, in which contexts, and how they are governed through processes of normalization and securitization, produces crucial insights into the making of the colonial present through processes of (in)security and the negotiation of crisis.

S18 The Four Horsemen: Harbingers of the End or Rebirth of Peacebuilding?

Section Chairs: Julia Palmiano Federer & Samantha Gamez

This section envisages five panels featuring subfields of scholarship that bring critical perspectives to peace and conflict studies, since the current liberal peacebuilding paradigm has been practically left for dead. Speaking to the conference theme, we organize this panel around the Judeo-Christian eschatological imaginary of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, Famine, Pestilence, War) and the Whore of Babylon to feature how critical theory, including post-colonial, feminist, critical normative, post-structuralist and decolonial perspectives provide navigation for the future of peace and conflict studies in a time of crisis.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the coming of the Apocalypse has been conceived of as a natural endpoint to a linear progression of history. While the situated suffering and persecution of Jewish populations contributed to the development of apocalyptic rhetoric, the Book of Revelations and the imaginaries of the Four Horsemen and the Whore of Babylon are the omnipresent representation of the end of days in many Western societies.

This section applies an interpretation of these imaginaries to the field of peace and conflict studies to inspire rich discussions on the inherent tensions and paradoxes present in current critical peacebuilding literature. First, we examine the manifestations of the Horsemen and their role in Apocalyptic imagery: although popular media often portrays them as evil that actively create the end of days, the riders are better understood as harbingers of the apocalypse, not its originators. In a departure from Judeo-Christian tradition in which the work of the Horsemen damns the unfaithful and spares the faithful, we envision something less binary. We conceptualize the Horsemen as a prism through which to epistemologically and political rewrite societies, not rigidly enacting a just and divine judgement on the individuals in these contexts. In a global society of peace and conflict, the Horsemen’s ride is most demonstrable in the suffering and injustices of those spatially situated in the Global South, yet much of the manifestations of the Horsemen are brought about by the machinations of the Global North. These include the spatial variation of climate crisis natural disasters, the preponderance of violent conflict, the acceptability of extreme poverty and hunger, and the disproportionate harm done by vaccine nationalism in the context of COVID-19 in the Global South. Although dominant liberal peacebuilding institutions and practices bemoan the Apocalypse and fear the Horsemen, there is little to no acknowledgement in the historical context that generated these factors and even less debate regarding who pays the cataclysmic price. Furthermore, there is space to discuss how the Horsemen can undermine those institutions and practices that should be left to history while simultaneously helping propel forward ideas and actors that can themselves usher in a better society.

Second, to grapple with the Horsemen and the figure of the Whore of Babylon, we explicitly engage with critical theories such as feminist and post-colonial thought. These theories offer a reckoning that seek to reshape and dismantle the institutions that produced the current crises and champion those that have been silenced by Western proselytizing. To untangle the pandemonium, four panels dissect these modern machinations of the horsemen and consider the efforts of peacebuilding actors to mitigate or subvert them. The fifth panel focuses on the figure of the Whore of Babylon to begin reflective discussions on the idealization and demonization of gender in liberal peacebuilding and its critical turn. This section encourages the participation of BIPOC and Global South scholars.

S19 The History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Terrorism Studies

Section Chairs: Andreas Gofas & Athanasios Gkoutzioulis

As the field of Terrorism Studies (TS) is developing exponentially, now is the time to reflect on it systematically. Many scholars work on historical, philosophical, or sociological issues with no apparent interest in other aspects of the big picture, leading to a gnosiological pandemonium. In effect, the scholarly community has no clear framework for reflecting on the field as a whole.

This we find unfortunate and this section attempts a first corrective. By placing disciplinary self-reflection in its proper trilogical, interdisciplinary framework, the proposed section seeks to provide a panoramic view of TS as a field of study by integrating three distinct but interrelated foci. It retraces TS’s historical development as a professional field of study, explores the philosophical foundations of its knowledge claims, and interrogates the sociological mechanisms through which scholarship is produced and the field is structured.

S20 The International Political Economy of Authoritarianism and Transnational Kleptocracy

Section Chairs: John Heathershaw & Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

The objective of this section is to explore various aspects of these international and transnational relations of authoritarian state power and transnational kleptocratic networks.

It embarks from two emergent and related sets of research findings. First, there is a realization that the resurgence of authoritarianism in states putatively transitioning to democracy – or what has been called a ‘global patrimonial wave’ (Hanson & Kopstein 2021) – cannot be fully explained, neither by domestic factors, nor by merely geographical proximities and international linkages, without placing it within a broader set of international political economy relations. Second, there is an increasing understanding, in both academic literature and policy literature, that the issue of grand corruption affecting developing, resource-rich countries – kleptocratic states – cannot be addressed without considering the global and often offshore ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘enablers’ of corruption and what has been called ‘the rise of kleptocracy’ (Hansen & Aten 2018).

The global reversal of democratization over the last fifteen years has been accompanied by conspiracy theories and apocalyptic imaginaries about the ‘end of history’.  Our theme is consistent with the Pandaemonium topic as it explores the disruption to states and markets caused by new kleptocratic practices and their innovative enablers.

We welcome papers from early-career scholars and those from and/or based in under-represented world regions.  Please be in touch with John or Ricardo directly if you have any questions.

S21 Understanding Norms: Emergence, Diffusion, Contestation and Disappearance

Section Chairs: Elke Krahmann & Sukanya Podder

Norms are collective expectations regarding the appropriate behaviour and actions within a given social milieu which are jointly held and sustained by social groups (Katzenstein, 1996:6; Laffey and Weldes, 1997:210, Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998: 891). In the apocalyptic imaginaries of our time the ability to agree on such collective norms and standards appears to be increasingly challenged. Several waves of norm research can thus be identified in International Relations, moving progressively from the study of the presumably ‘positive’ role of transnational advocacy networks and norm entrepreneurs in the process of norm emergence to norm contestation, resistance, and even disappearance. This section aims to bring together the latest scholarship on norms and to facilitate cross-fertilization with critical perspectives and other fields of research, such as the ‘local turn’ in IR, post-colonial analysis, or peace and conflict studies. Key themes of this section include the life cycle and impact of new and more established norms relating to peace, conflict, and world politics. Among others, the panels in this section will examine how norms are transmitted at and across local, national and international levels; the mechanisms and processes of norm internalization and resistance; the role of local actors in norm diffusion and contestation; the emergence of new norms in response to novel developments such as cyber-warfare, artificial intelligence, climate change, and global pandemics; the contribution of norms to peacebuilding and conflict resolution; and the reasons for the weakening and disappearance of norms.

S22 Online Section

Section chairs:  Sophia Dingli & Vassilios Paipais

This year, an online one-day pre-conference will be organized (the date is yet to be confirmed).

Authors interested in taking part should select the Online Section as the preferred thematic section in the submission process.