This year, the Swiss Political Science Association’s annual conference took place in Basel, Switzerland’s oldest university city. From 2-3 February, political scientists from across the country and beyond filled the classrooms and hallways of Universität Basel, passionately debating and mingling with their peers. Well represented in the International Political Sociology, Peace and Security, and Public Policy working groups, members of the Global Governance Centre (GGC) research community presented on a range of topical themes, from methodological evolutions in the study of international organizations to the politics of data-driven global governance.
Transdisciplinary Approaches to the International
Giving analytical heed to everyday routines, GGC researcher Astrid Skjold and Franca Kappes brought Henri Lefebvre’s notion of rhythm as an analytical lens through which to decipher the spatio-temporal movements and disruptions of the disaster reconstruction industry. The potential of rhythmanalysis will be further explored in an upcoming 2023 European Workshops of International Studies session on “Catastrophic Cadences.”
Reflecting on “The Wanderers: Masterpieces from the Tretyakov Gallery,” a temporary art exhibit organized in 2017 at the Shanghai Museum in China, GGC research associate Julia Bethwaite examined the circulation of Russian art works as integral to the Russian state’s status-seeking strategy and hegemonic power pursuits.
Knowledge, Expertise, Data
As a follow-up to a recent Objects of Expertise workshop organized by the Geneva Graduate Institute’s IR/PS Department and Global Governance Centre in partnership with Bielefeld University, GGC faculty associate Anna Leander situated the place of certificates in the regulation of cyber-security expertise and the making of epistemic hierarchies.
In connection to her ongoing SNSF project “De-Blackboxing the Production of Expert Knowledge in Global Governance,” GGC Academic Director Annabelle Littoz-Monnet drew insights from science and technology studies to problematize the growing dominance of private data production sites in the making of global health metrics.
Tightly linked to a forthcoming edited book on International Organizations and Research Methods, GGC research associate Fanny Badache presented a co-authored paper (with Leah Kimber, Lucile Maertens, and Gaélane Wolff) on methodological shifts in the study of international organizations from 1945 to 2020.
Locating the coordinates of historical theorizing within International Relations, GGC Executive Director and research associate Monique Beerli foregrounded archiving and archival spaces as methodological levers for tracing the historicity of international practices.
International Bureaucracies and Bureaucratic Dynamics
Drawing from the field of public administration studies, GGC research associate Fanny Badache explored the extent to which civilian workforce diversity matters, both inwardly and outwardly, for UN peacekeeping operations.
Highlighting performance issues faced by bureaucracies, whether operating at the international or municipal level, GGC research associate Laura Schenker investigated micro-dynamics of bureaucratic resistance and adaptation to understand how high-ranking bureaucrats get their subordinates to report truthfully in self-performance reviews.
Conferencing from the Viewpoint of Early Career Scholars
Scientific conferences are crucial spaces for academic socialization and for the development of one’s own professional network. When asked what they enjoyed most about this year’s annual ASSP conference, here is what GGC early career scholars had to say…
A first time participant at the ASSP annual conference, Julia Bethwaite appreciated the quality of intellectual exchanges and networking opportunities, from the workshops to the gala dinner:
“I attended the ASSP for the first time and I enjoyed the overall experience: being part of fruitful discussions during the workshops, meeting many interesting people, and discovering the charming city of Basel. Before the workshops kicked off, I participated in the Young Scholars’ Forum, which was a great way to begin the two-day conference. Academic conferences also offer a wonderful opportunity to meet scholars whose works you may already be well familiar with and engage in stimulating conversations with them. The conference dinner was also a pleasant experience as we were seated at long tables in a large hall, evoking a sense of being part of a wider community that we academics, whether junior or more senior, represent."
Having first attended the ASSP annual conference for the 2020 Lucerne edition, Laura Schenker was notably grateful for the valuable feedback she received:
“I already participated in the 2020 Congress in Luzern and it was such a good experience that I decided to go back again this year. As a young scholar, the ASSP is a chance to get some detailed, constructive feedback from experts in my field. My discussant’s comments were notable in this regard. They were clear, precise, and very relevant which will help me with the framing of my paper for a forthcoming submission.”
See the Full SPSA 2023 Programme Here