Øyvind Svendsen defends his PhD thesis at the Department of Political Science

Øyvind SvendsenCandidate

Øyvind Svendsen


"European Disintegration in Practice: Security and Defence Cooperation After the Brexit Referendum".


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

Time and venue

8 December 2020 from 14:00-17:00 on Zoom.

Assessment committee

  • Professor Ben Rosamond, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Dr. Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Vincent Pouliot, McGill University


How do processes of international disintegration unfold in practice? This dissertation explores the security and defence aspect of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union – Brexit – as an instance of disintegration. To analyse disintegration, the dissertation develops a practice approach that emphasises the open-ended process and socially situated struggles that takes place to define the meaning of disintegration. In so doing it also develops the concept of doxic futures: representations of the future rooted in practical knowledge and tacit assumptions about the self-evident nature of the social world. Doxic futures have significant consequences for processes of international disintegration because the struggle to represent the most salient, or logical, future paves the way for what future scenarios actually come into being. The future-oriented practice approach to international disintegration developed in the dissertation comes with both theoretical and empirical implications. Theoretically, international disintegration cannot be conceptually wedded to notions of unmaking such as collapse or decay as outcome. Rather, disintegration is open-ended and therefore disintegrative processes may also bear a component of remaking that in turn demand theorising the constitutive role of the future. Empirically, the meaning-making struggle in light of Brexit illustrates that actors with stakes in European security and defence both at the EU level and in a broader European context tried to save that particular area from the potential havoc that a badly managed process of disintegration could cause, rather than unmaking what preceded the Brexit process.