Conferenza / Incontro

Disarmament as Ontological Politics: Towards a Process-Relational and Radical Pragmatist Theory of Disarmament

Guest Lecture Series
19 marzo 2024
Orario di inizio 
Palazzo Paolo Prodi - Via Tommaso Gar 14, Trento
Aula 001
Organizzato da: 
School of International Studies
Ingresso libero


The politics and practice of disarmament has long been beset by ontological divisions that understand the relation of weapons and violence, technology and politics, in particular ways that reify and reproduce a deeply violent ‘modern constitution’. This paper seeks to challenge the manner in which ontological purity legitimates violent conditions and sketches an alternative. Situating this alternative in emerging relational ontologies in IR and beyond, the paper rethinks disarmament through the longer traditions of process-relational philosophy and classical pragmatist thought. This, I argue, both enables and requires a different way of grasping how problems of violence are framed, and how international action on violence through disarmament can be engaged as a politics entangled with technology, space, and relations of life/death (that is techno- geo-, and bio/necro- politics). In particular, I seek to engage the radical creativity of disarmament as a participation in the fragility and reversibility of the conditions of violence.


Mike Bourne - Queen’s University Belfast


Dr Mike Bourne is Reader in International Security Studies, in the School of History Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queen’s University Belfast; a Fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice, and an Associate Fellow of Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). Dr Bourne’s work engages the connections of security and technology with a focus on technologies of violence, arms control, border control and illicit trafficking. His theoretical work within critical security studies develops new approaches oriented through new materialist and process-relational philosophies and philosophy of technology and Science and Technology Studies. His recent research has been funded by the ESRC and Leverhulme Trust, and has engaged the development of border security technologies, the growth of automated borders, and the trends towards algorithmic governing of security and Machine Learning issues. His published work has appeared in Security Dialogue, Contemporary Security Policy, European Security, Social Studies of Science, International Politics, Critical Studies on Security, Global Change, Peace and Security, and others. His two monographs (both with Palgrave) are Arming Conflict: The Proliferation of Small Arms (2007); and Understanding Security (2014).