The pandemic has transformed many of our academic practices – from the way in which we conduct interviews, hold meetings and colloquia, convene annual meetings to how we teach and supervise students. Everyday life practices of millions of people worldwide have also undergone rapid changes through social distancing and home working for those can afford to do so, but also for those who have been disadvantaged and exposed to additional risk. Not to speak of the security threads arising from the pandemic that have led to new practices of surveillance and policing but also of mobilizing and orchestrating in global policy.

Thus, it seems a good moment to review developments in practice theory and its contribution to research on global cooperation. In February 2021, the Centre co-organized an International Conference on ‘New Voices of International Practice Research’. Research group leader Frank Gadinger takes the remarkably high level of interest in this event as a starting point for his reflections on why practice theory has proven to be more than a fashion in international relations research. An intriguing set of complementary contributions focuses on the use of practice theory in critical security studies (Bode), peacekeeping (Laurence), policing (Pingeot), prevention (Bergués and Schmidt) and China’s strategic practices in the Belt and Road initiative (Lesch and Loh).

As further highlights, this issue includes an interview with fellows Rita Abrahamsen and Michael C. Williams on the attack of the transnationally networked extreme right on the liberal world order; and an introduction to Postdoc Research Fellow Alena Drieschova’s project ‘Representant and International Orders’.

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our Alumni Fellow Professor Elena Pulcini. Christine Unrau commemorates her.

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Sigrid Quack


Sigrid Quack is the Managing Director of the Centre for Global Cooperation Research and Professor of Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She can be reached at quack@gcr21.uni-due.de.

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