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Making things known: epistemic practice, the United Nations and the translation of piracy

Bueger, Christian ORCID: 2015. Making things known: epistemic practice, the United Nations and the translation of piracy. International Political Sociology 9 (1) , pp. 1-18. 10.1111/ips.12073

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How are international phenomena rendered knowable? By which means and practical devices is international knowledge generated? In this article, I draw on the case of contemporary maritime piracy to introduce a research framework that allows these questions to be addressed. Arguing that the practices of international knowledge generation are poorly understood, I show how concepts from science and technology studies provide the tools to study these practices empirically. Relying on the practice theory of Karin Knorr Cetina, I introduce the concepts of epistemic infrastructures, epistemic practice, and laboratories and demonstrate how they facilitate interesting insights on knowledge generation. I investigate three “archetypes” of epistemic practices in detail and show how these generate knowledge about piracy for the United Nations. The three archetypes are the quantification practices of the International Maritime Organization, the interpretation work of a monitoring group and the network of a special adviser. The article introduces an innovative agenda for studying knowledge generation in international relations by focusing on the practical epistemic infrastructures, which maintain knowledge about international phenomena.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Cardiff Law & Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1749-5679
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 May 2020
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 08:46

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