Kitt Plinia Nielsen defends her PhD thesis at the Department of Political Science

Kitt Plinia NielsenCandidate

Kitt Plinia Nielsen


"From Insurance to Intelligence: A Conceptual History of Political Risk".

The thesis is available as an e-book via Academic books.

Time and venue

Thursday 25 June 2020 at 14:00
Link to attend the PhD defence
Password: 307276

Please note, the defence will be held in Zoom and will be recorded.

Assessment committee

  • Associate Professor Trine Villumsen Berling, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Professor Oliver Kessler, Staatswissenschaftlichen Fakultät, Universität Erfurt
  • Associate Professor Sissel Haugdal Jore, Centre for Risk and Societal Safety, University of Stavanger


This PhD dissertation demonstrates empirically how the well-known business concept ‘political risk’ went from being a matter of risk mitigation and insurance to one of security and intelligence. In doing so, the dissertation points to the greater implications this development can have for international business’ approach to ‘the political’.

Business professionals commonly use the concept of political risk to describe the negative effects of politics on business, and for many years, political risk was a matter of insurance and risk management, only. Recently, however, corporate security managers have begun identifying systematically and analysing political environments in an effort to keep the employees and the investments out of harm’s way.

This development challenges the mainstream corporate response to political risk, and thereby gradually changes the concept. At the same time, however, this development questions directly the traditional non-strategic approach to security in multinational enterprises, and thus also indirectly the role such enterprises could or should play in the governance of international security in the future.

To fully comprehend the extend of and the political implications of this empirical development, this dissertation zooms in on the concept of political risk and writes a history of its development from its formal introduction in the 1960s until its most recent application in the 2010s. More specifically, this dissertation maps out and analyses the concept's many different contextual applications to understand what corporate security’s contemporary engagement implies politically.