Hey everyone, and welcome to a very special episode of Fully Automated. Why so special? Well, because this is our first ever joint episode! We’ve teamed up with the Science Technology and Art in International Relations (or STAIR) section of ISA, for the first of what we hope will be a series of collaborations on the politics and economics of science and technology (and art!) in global affairs.
Joining me as a co-host on this episode is Stéphanie Perazzone, who graduated recently with a PhD in International Relations and Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (IHEID). Stéphanie is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB), the University of Antwerp. She is working on a Swiss National Science Foundation-funded research project entitled “Localizing International Security Sector Reform; A Micro-Sociology of Policing in Urban Congo.” She is also the Communications Officer for STAIR.
Our guest for this episode is Anna Leander, the winner of the 2018 STAIR ‘Transversal Acts’ Distinguished Scholar Award. Anna is Professor of International Relations at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, with part-time positions also at the Copenhagen Business School. She is known primarily for her contributions to the development of practice theoretical approaches to International Relations and for her work on the politics of commercializing military/security matters. According to her bio, she is “focused on the material politics of commercial security technologies with special emphasis on their aesthetic and affective dimensions.”
In the interview, Stéphanie and I invite Anna to reflect on a number of the topics she has taken on, in the course of her career. One question of interest is the influence of Pierre Bourdieu on her thinking, especially concerning the role of symbolic power in reproducing systems of political violence, and the political value of reflexivity as a precursor of resistance. We also ask her about her work on the increasingly overlapping relationship between the commercial and the technological, and her thoughts on methodology in relation to studying this and other recent trends and developments in the security world.
Listeners interested in following up on Anna’s work might want to check out some of the following articles, which all get discussed to some extent in the interview:
- The Paradoxical Impunity of Private Military Companies: Authority and the Limits to Legal Accountability. Security Dialogue, 41(5), 467–490. https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010610382108
- Ethnographic Contributions to Method Development: “Strong Objectivity” in Security Studies, International Studies Perspectives, Volume 17, Issue 4, November 2016, Pages 462–475, https://doi.org/10.1093/isp/ekv021
- The politics of whitelisting: Regulatory work and topologies in commercial security. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(1), 48–66. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775815616971