University of Cambridge > > Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop > Beyond knowledge-building: Research infrastructure, technology, and the practice of Arctic (in)security

Beyond knowledge-building: Research infrastructure, technology, and the practice of Arctic (in)security

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Infrastructure and technology are critical to polar research. Climate research, oceanography, or monitoring air- and seaborne pollution are fields where ground stations, remote-sensing capabilities or transport infrastructures enable scientists to collect, interpret or enhance data to generate knowledge. Moreover, building and sharing knowledge have long been considered effective practices in relations between states or multilateral governance. Enhancing scientific capabilities through infrastructural investments or technological development are key for stronger political agency in polar affairs. However, scientific cooperation and the universality of science are increasingly being challenged in light of current and emerging security challenges driven by geopolitical tension and strategic competition. Despite the significance of evidence-based policy-making and science-policy interaction in contemporary international relations, little is still known about the role and value of scientific infrastructure and technology in political problematizations. It is relevant to examine scientific infrastructure and technology as material elements tied to changing geopolitical and strategic considerations. Recognizing interplay between infrastructure, technology and security this doctoral project explores the emergence of regional (in)security from infrastructurally and technologically situated practices. This is done by answering two interrelated and complementary sub-questions on the extent to which the use of research infrastructures and technology contribute to practices of (in)security, and on the extent to which practices of (in)security influence the use of research infrastructures and technology. The project includes three interrelated cases: ships as multi-use infrastructure, remote-sensing technology and presence, as well as ground stations as exceptional spaces of interaction. Situated within IR scholarship, the project builds on existing literature in critical security and science and technology studies, socio-materiality, geography and international political sociology. The aim is to provide theoretical, methodological, and empirical insight on pertinent issues in contemporary polar studies and international relations.

This talk is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop series.

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