::Past Events & Appearances
Milton Wolf Seminar 2013
Diplomatic Maneuvers and Journalistic Coverage in a Time of Reset, Pivot and Rebalance
Vienna, Austria, April 16 – 18, 2013
Ben O'Loughlin will lead off discussion of strategic narratives at the 2013 Milton Wolf Seminar hosted by the Diplomatic Academy, Vienna and co-organised with the Annenberg School for Communication and the American Austrian Foundation. This closed event features discussion between diplomats, journalists and scholars over three intense days. The first Milton Wolf Seminar was held in 2001.
The 2013 Milton Wolf seminar addresses the critical role of diplomats and journalists in shaping the outcomes of what we call global geopolitical pivots. Pivots in this case refer to emergent geopolitical shifts around which multiple stakeholders – from major powers, to multilateral organizations, to bloggers working in isolation – seek to provide input on the most appropriate outcomes. As Zbigniew Brzezinski defined them, "Geopolitical pivots are the states whose importance is derived not from their power and motivation but rather from their sensitive location and from the consequences of their potentially vulnerable condition for the behavior of geo-strategic players.”
Examples of contemporary global pivots that will be considered in this year’s Seminar include: the ultimate resolution of the Arab Spring countries, the shifts in geopolitical approaches to Syria, calls for regime change in Iran, and the intense Western attention to reform movements and government change in Burma (Myanmar).
In each of these cases, different state and non-state actors have put forward competing narratives advocating particular outcomes. These narratives are circulated, among other mechanisms, through political speeches, in the press, and via the internet. This year’s Seminar will explore the critical role of this narrative construction in shaping diplomatic outcomes. How do diplomats, journalists, and other stakeholders seek to advocate for particular outcomes, and to what effect? Conversely, how do these geopolitical pivots or shifts affect on-going narratives of democratization, shifts from authoritarian regimes, and the role of media and communications in diplomacy?
2013-03-20: Call for Papers: ESRC South East DTC Annual Conference: Power Revisited: Crisis and Opportunities
Department of Politics and International Relations
Wednesday 20th March 2013
Arab Spring! Occupy! Euro-crisis! Austerity! Riots! New Warfare! Is this the rise of power in a new guise? Is this a time of crisis or opportunity? Recent events challenge us to reconsider the nature of power in our contemporary world. The view of power today is split. It could be said that our current situation is merely a repeat of history, and an intensification of the old battle lines. Conversely our current situation can be regarded as new, unique and pressing. How we come to understand power has a bearing on how we come to understand our future. As such, this conference aims to stimulate critical engagement and challenge our predisposed notions of power. We invite paper proposals on any topics related to the conference theme, and would particularly welcome abstracts related to the following areas:
- Conflict Analysis
- International Political Economy
- Military, Security and Strategic Studies
- Political Communication
- Political Culture and Identity
- Political Protest and Social Transformation
- Political Theory
- Transnational and Global Relations
Abstracts should be between 300-350 words in a PDF or Word format and
Deadline for abstracts: Wednesday 19th December 2012
ESRC SEDTC Politics Postgraduate Conference - Call for Papers
I am excited to announce that I will be giving the 2013 Attallah Lecture at Carleton University on March 7, 2013. The Lecture takes place annually in honour of Paul Attallah and is part of Carleton's Communication Graduate Caucus Annual Conference, whose theme this year is [Re]visions: Protest and Resistance.
Attallah Lecture specifics:
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Time: 6:30 PM.
Location: National Arts Centre, Ottawa, 53 Elgin Street, at Confederation Square, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5W1, Canada.
On 5 March 2013 NPCU PhD student Mark Pope will present his research at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His talk is entitled, Cosmopolitanism in UK news discourse on counter-terrorism. What form(s) does it take and how are they constructed?
Mark was invited to speak in the Political Science Doctoral Research Seminar.
On 19 February at 5.15pm Ben O'Loughlin will present the early stages of his new work with Andrew Hoskins. Please join, details below.
The new mass: the return of political collectivity?
Department of Politics and International Relations: Seminar Series 2013
Founders West room 101
5.15pm – 6.30pm
For information on further seminars please click here.
A quick note to say that I'll be speaking at an event about the European Citizens' Initiative in central London this coming Thursday, November 29.
Organized by the European Parliament Information Office, held at Europe House, Smith Square, Westminster, and entitled Can Digital Democracy Work? the meeting will consist of MEPs and representatives from the Officer of the Leader of the House of Commons, 38 Degrees, and transnational civil society movement, European Alternatives.
If you would like to attend the discussion, please RSVP to Agnieszka.PIELA@ext.ec.europa.eu
Ben O'Loughlin is giving a presentation this Thursday 25 October in the Department of International Relations at Australia National University. His paper is entitled, Strategic Narratives and Power Transition: Communicating a New Order. The paper is based on a forthcoming book on Strategic Narratives with Alister Miskimmon and Laura Roselle. Details of the seminar are below. Thanks to Sarah Logan and Matthew Davies for organising the event.
Strategic Narratives and Power Transition: Communicating a New Order
Professor Ben O'Loughlin
05:00pm - 06:30pm
25 October 2012
Seminar Room 3, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
This presentation explains how strategic narratives play a vital role in defining international order and power transition. The analysis of power transition has been dominated by studies focusing on material conditions (Gilpin 1981; Organski 1958), changes in balance of power (Waltz 1979; Kennedy 1988) and more recently the evolution of a liberal order (Ikenberry 2011). Today, a changing distribution of material power will be reflected in greater challenges for great powers to project strategic narratives about the future of the international system, signs of which we are already witnessing. Power transition now occurs in the conditions of a global media ecology in which states must narrate to multiple audiences; this more transparent order affects how states achieve legitimacy for their narrative. A strategic narrative framework can help analysts account for the social, ideational and relational dimensions of power transition neglected in traditional theories. Analysis of the formation, projection and domestic and international reception of China's strategic narrative shows that while China might become a superpower in material terms, its ability to gain legitimacy for an alternative vision of world order is constrained. Its narrative must work against a range of prior understandings of China and of the international system itself. The current rise of the BRICs is a fascinating period for those concerned with how the future of international order will play out because each rising power has an ambiguous relationship to the existing order as well as different concepts and values underpinning its narrative of future order. Given that previous power transitions have often led to systemic violence, it remains to be seen whether any existing or rising powers can craft a strategic narrative that other powers can align with their own.
Billur Aslan will present a paper at the DGAP 17th New Faces Conference on "Pluralism in Egypt and Tunisia – How the Political Opening is Changing Islamist Forces" on 4–7 October 2012 in Cairo. Billur's talk is entitled, 'Connective Power of Islamist Parties: How does the Internet shape the activities of Islamists in Egypt?'
The conference is organised by the German Council on Foreign Relations and the American University in Cairo. Speakers include Khaled Hamza, Chief Editor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s main website, ikhwanweb.com, and Gudrun Krämer, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies and Director of the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at Freie Universität Berlin.
Call for Papers - Olympics and the ‘isms’
Deadline 23 March 2012
Royal Holloway University of London, 20 July 2012
In summer 2012, London will host the XXX Olympic and XIV Paralympic Games. As part of the Olympic Village, Royal Holloway provides a stimulating environment for a multidisciplinary dialogue that explores the tensions and contradictions within and between modern Olympic ideals and traditional ideologies (‘isms’). By seeking to sustain certain narratives and ideologies that precede the 21st century, the Olympics seemingly stands as an anomaly in our post/alter-modern times.
Following the Olympic idea of combining “a healthy body and a healthy mind”, we would like to invite contributions from athletes and academics to explore and problematise the framing of Olympics in the following binary logics:
- Cosmopolitanism and Nationalism
- What impact do the Games have on ‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘national’ narratives and identities?
- Commercialism and Idealism
- How does the commercialisation of the Games bear upon the political and ethical ideals underpinning our conceptions of sport generally and the Olympics in particular?
- Amateurism and Professionalism
- Is there a contradiction between the Olympic ideal of athletic amateurism and trends towards professionalism? How does this impact beyond the Games?
These are the ‘isms’ we are interested in, but we welcome additional ideas and contributions.
The morning session will follow a traditional conference format with speakers giving presentations followed by questions. The afternoon will be devoted to an interactive discourse analysis workshop in which we invite all participants to analyse selected Olympic-related texts, PR materials and media coverage. The results of this analysis will contribute towards a paper evaluating the discourse surrounding the Games. This, together with a selection of papers from the morning session, will be put forward for publication in a special issue of a journal.
If you are interested in taking part at this conference, please contact us with a 300 word abstract at firstname.lastname@example.org by 23rd March 2012.
In June 2012 the first joint conference between the International Studies Association (ISA) and British International Studies Association (BISA) will be held in sunny Edinburgh. The conference features the latest panel in the Strategic Narratives programme. This will be held on Friday 22 June from 14:00 – 15:30 (room TBC). The line up is:
Chair: Philip Seib, University of Southern California
Discussant: Frederick Mayer, Duke University
Alister Miskimmon, Royal Holloway: Integration as a strategic narrative? The case of the European Union
Ben O'Loughlin, Royal Holloway: Narratives of Global Uncertainty
Robin Brown, University of Leeds: Public Diplomacy and the Construction of Strategic Narratives
Laura Roselle, Elon University: Strategic Narratives and Great Powers
Ben and Alister will present further ideas on strategic narratives alongside senior IR figures at the roundtable ‘Unclenching Fists’, also featuring Neta Crawford, Thomas Diez, Roxane Farmanfarmaian, and Harald Mueller. This panel was generously organised by Karin M. Fierke and Antje Wiener, and will take place on Wednesday 20 June from 16:00 – 17:30 (room TBC).