Territory, authority, expertise: Global governance and the counter-piracy assemblage

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This article presents an empirical study that aims to draw out core elements of an assemblage theory of global governance. Situating assemblage theory in the third, practice-oriented generation of global governance research, I argue that it provides us with a feature-rich toolbox sensitive to the routine matters of international cooperation, the role of artefacts and the vitality of territories of governance. To showcase the advantages of an assemblage approach, I study a paradigmatic case: the organization of the international community’s fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. This effort has not only been very successful, with no major piracy incident reported from 2012 to 2016, but also a ‘miracle’ that can be explained by the close cooperation of all actors involved. I zoom in on one of the core components of this cooperation, the so-called Best Management Practices, which organize state–industry relations. I present a detailed study of the making of the Best Management Practices and the territory of authority and expertise that it established, and show how it became a core tool of governance. The case study documents the analytical power of assemblage theory for understanding global governance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of International Relations
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)614-637
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Assemblage theory, global governance, maritime piracy, practice theory, risk

ID: 200875173