In 2013, the European Union (EU) formulated its ambition to develop a ‘water diplomacy’. Subsequently, it attempted to put this aspiration into practice, notably through various Council Conclusions. Despite this activity, the EU’s evolution as a ‘water diplomat’ remains underexplored. To address this gap, this article examines the EU’s understanding of ‘water diplomacy’ by conducting a comprehensive discourse analysis of its framing of water as an object of diplomacy and the resulting diplomatic approaches. The analysis of key EU documents, triangulated through interviews with policy-makers, reveals that several water frames currently intersect, resulting in a multifaceted EU external water action comprising both a narrow and a broad understanding of water diplomacy. Following an explanation of this finding focusing on the policy entrepreneurship of intra-EU water diplomacy stakeholders, the article concludes by discussing its implications for the academic study and political practice of water diplomacy within and beyond the EU.
This article analyses the collaboration between the French external services and the Egyptian government of President Sissi. In a first part, it recounts the revelations of the Disclose journalists in 2021 and their interview with an anonymous source, as well as the follow-up investigation in 2023 by the European Consortium of Independent Journalists. In the second part, the two authors comment on the relationship between data cooperation and counter-terrorism activities, the way in which the sale of arms and spying tools undermines the legitimacy of cooperation, and the way in which the French government has used the argument of defence of secrecy to prevent investigative journalists from investigating the issue.
This article analyses the Italian commercial presence in the Mongol Īl-Khānate in thirteenth-century Persia. Analysing source materials, the study focuses on the experiences of individuals and communities alike, showcasing a dual aspiration to economic gain and political status. The study examines mechanisms that facilitated merchants’ relationship with the Īl-Khānids, leading Italians to occupy significant positions at the Īl-Khānid court. It also explains how just a few individuals were instrumental in fostering diplomatic ties with Europe and enabling treaties that bolstered Genoese and Venetian communities in Tabriz and beyond. A subsequent phase marked a shift as Īl-Khānid rulers embraced Islam, causing relations with Europe to erode, thereby diminishing Italian influence. This intricate interplay between Italian merchants’ trade, diplomatic endeavours, and cultural exchanges highlights the multifaceted nature of historical interactions in this period.
The role of Chinese ceramics in the interconnections of the Mongol khanates is not a new subject; however, most studies focus on the artistic exchanges between Yuan China and Ilkhanid Iran. Besides the well-known southern mainland route that linked these two regions, written sources and archaeological evidence also bear witness to intense commercial activity along the northern routes that passed over the Caspian Sea to the Caucasian region, relaying between the major cities of the Golden Horde khanate. The Chinese stoneware and porcelain excavated in some of these cities, including Saray, Saraijuk, Azov, Majar, and Bolgar, have been published among other materials in various excavations reports and articles covering these regions, but have never been considered as a whole. This article aims to provide an initial survey on the presence of fourteenth-century Chinese ceramics in the Golden Horde khanate, draw a preliminary picture of the typologies of the exported wares, and set the basis for further studies in the field.
While there is no consensus as to when the Marāgha observatory, centre of a Eurasian-scale intellectual network, ceased to function, given that no historical sources mention such a date, by focusing more on the Īl-Khānid political context than on the scientific activities at the observatory that have so far attracted scholarly attention, I argue that the termination of the observatory’s activity overlapped with the downfall of Aṣīl al-Dīn b. Naṣīr al-Dīn (d. ca. 1317) in 1309/10. Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (1201–1274) acquired the office of trustee of the waqf endowments for the observatory. This office was inherited after his death by his sons. However, the family property related to the religious endowments was targeted, which resulted in the family’s fall. Thereafter, the eighth īl-khān, Öljeitü (r.1304–1316), did not station his mobile court in Marāgha, which marked a shift of the intellectual centre of the Īl-Khānid dynasty away from the observatory.
This article focuses on a rather neglected aspect of diplomacy, located at the intersection of practices, rituals and performances: state funeral ceremonies. Shifting the emphasis onto the dimension of international attendance, considering international representatives and their hierarchical positions at these state funerals, the article aims to present a novel means to analyse states’ international standing, offering a new contextualisation next to the prevailing approaches that have underlined the numbers of embassies, international memberships or bilateral treaties in defining these points. I first discuss the role of state funerals in international politics, pointing to their quasi-absence from the literature. After offering a theoretical framework with relevant recent contributions on practices, rituals and performances, and underlining state funerals’ role for and within the international society, I present four exploratory case studies that pinpoint varying aspects of state funerals: those for Nelson Mandela, Helmut Kohl, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.
The gdpr today is commonly seen as a ‘gold standard’ of personal data regulation. While recognizing the importance of the gdpr, especially in affirming that personal data belongs to the individuals rather than commercial or public entities, this paper seeks to demonstrate that such a view is, nevertheless, problematic: first, what the gdpr, along with similar regulations inspired by it elsewhere, effectively does is help organise the functioning of the personal data market in which private user data continues to be commodified and used to generate massive profits by various firms and platforms; second, the gdpr does it in a paradigmatically neoliberal manner – public authorities create a legal framework for a market, and devolve the responsibility for managing negative consequences to the affected populations themselves, presenting it as their ‘empowerment’; third, just as it is often the case with neoliberal governmentality in other sectors, the tool provided by the gdpr to individuals to protect themselves – here the right to reject the terms of service (tos) of different providers – embodies and reproduces an asymmetric power relation between capital and society – here between service providers and users – and effectively ensures that individuals continue to acquiesce to the collection and commodification of their private data: on the one hand, the complexity of different tos, their ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ nature, length, etc., render the evaluation of privacy implications very difficult for individual users; second, in some cases, the rejection of tos is impossible because access to the service in question is indispensable, as in the case of platform workers. Users mechanically click ‘Accept’ which is seen as an instance of ‘informed consent,’ and which in turn makes the collection and monetization of personal data legal.
This article starts from the observation of intense political mobilisations of existential endings. One of the defining challenges for critical engagements with such mobilisations remains how to take war, environmental degradation and pandemics seriously without making existential end-times the conditions that define the present. The article proposes to move beyond critical knowledge that makes security contingent and engage with the conception of life inscribed in the mobilisations of existential endings. It puts forward a concept of life that emphasises continuous movement rather than defining it from the perspective of its inevitable end in death. This point of view challenges traditional existential notions of life and death, highlighting instead the dynamic and transformative nature of life itself.
Most critical scholars have criticized the validity of positivist claims and positivist ambitions to propose general and value-free explanations. However, less attention has been paid to the question of how positivist data collection, methods and epistemology structures our interpretative and normative vision of international relations. In order to address this question I will focus on how nomological positivism frames the threat perceptions of international conflict. In particular I ask how conflict is predicted by positivist scholars and the kind of solutions they suggest in order to avoid conflict. I argue that by reducing actors to coherent, strategic, measurable objects, positivism often leads to exaggerated fear. Such alarmism embedded in positivist scholarship is nourished by the denial of individuality, complexity, contingency and social relations characterized by empathy, identification and trust. This article presents to my knowledge the first study that examines the elective affinities between positivism and international violence.
Digitisation is redefining the battlefield. Whereas once only soldiers and embedded journalists had privileged access to the battlefield, now war is everywhere, brought to us by civilians and their smartphones. People produce, publish and consume media on the same device. They can be at the frontlines or on the other side of the world. Digital individuals may willingly participate in war or they may participate by virtue of being connected to the grid. In this sense it is participative in that everyone has the potential to be involved through the data they create. This produces dynamic information flows that amplify and accelerate both war and its representation bringing the relationship between the military targeting and media production cycles into alignment. In the process, the bystander has been removed from war and instead collapsed the relationship between audience and actor, soldier and civilian, media and weapon.