prof. dr. L.E. Lobo-Guerrero
My projects have been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the European Research Council, as well as various other European research agencies and the universities where I have worked and visited.
I supervise five doctoral students: The role of decadence and scandal in international politics (Ana Flamind), The politics of knowledge formation around the XVII C. Safavid and French Diplomatic Envoys to Siam (Anahita Arian), The EU’s geopolitics of soil (Maarten Meijer), Posthumanism and development in the Anthropocene (Agnese Bellina), and, together with Onno van Nijf –chair of Ancient History at Groningen-, Carving Communities in Stone: inscriptions as medium of early Hellenistic globalisation (Sjouke Kamphorst).
Below you can see a summary of current and past projects.
- Ongoing project (2017 - ) together with members of History and Theory of International Relations, University of Groningen.
Whereas the study of international relations has traditionally focused on the role of agency and structure in power relations, the affects, beliefs, attitudes, and practices that intervene in how groups of people connect in given times (their imaginaries of connectivity), have not attracted much scholarly attention. Thus, for example, the political denomination of (maritime) spaces such as the North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, to name but some; as well as the creation of virtual spaces such as the Internet, social media, and the cyber domain, relate to particular imaginaries of connectivity that are rarely reflected upon. Doing so opens up the possibility of understanding the situatedness of power relations as event.
Inasmuch as new spaces of connectivity are understood as created, they relate also to claims of novelty, as the human ability ‘to introduce absolute beginnings into reality’ (Blumenberg 1985, 169). Similarly, for Arendt, it is action – as a mode of human togetherness – that introduces novelty into the world (Arendt 1998). While the possibility of the new is thus a necessary condition for politics, the human capacity for novelty has also historically produced large-scale destruction of both existing human societies and the planetary environment. On the other hand, novelty as a particularly human capacity has been recently called into question by various nonanthropocentric perspectives (Roudavski and McCormack 2016; Braidotti 2013; Harman 2005). Dislocating the production of novelty from the human subject poses important questions regarding the possibility of governing such novel spaces as well as the possibility of practicing politics in their midst.
- Ongoing project (2016 - ) Individual project
This project seeks to understand the connectivity effects derived from the making of the Carrera de Indias in the XVI C. and the formation of the early Spanish Empire. Focusing on the emergence and early development of the Atlantic circuit that connected Seville (and Cadiz) with Havana, Santo Domingo, Veracruz and Cartagena de Indias, the project seeks to provide an understanding of its effects on the geopolitical imaginary of Europe. The project is a historical epistemological analysis that seeks to fertilise thought on the idea of the global in early modern Europe, the constitution of the Spanish national imaginary, and the emergence of modern geopolitical thought.
Cartographic imaginaries in early modern Spain feature prominently in this project. The idea that maps are fed analogically and represent analogical experiences with the world, matters for the way we understand the creation of novel spaces of governance, such as the Americas, the Caribbean, the globe. More on this can be seen in an intervention made at the Kate Hamburger Dialogue 'Mapping Mercator and Modernity' which can be read in the following link.
- Funding: H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 657750.
- Concluded in 2017, conducted by Prof. Paolo Palladino, Univ. Lancaster
The project 'Sheep, wool, landscape and connectivity' focuses on the processes involved in the evolution of three regional economies and the commodification of their agro-biological heritage, specifically as this relates to sheep and the production of woollen textiles (these regions are the Lake District and Dales of northern England, the Catalan Pyrenees, and the Piedmontese Alps).
A trans-national, comparative approach allows for investigation of the diversity of local responses to the transformation of agro-biological products into commodities traded on a global scale; an extended chronological perspective also allows for the investigation of the similarly complex relationship between the creation of bio-economic value and the passage of time.
The results of such investigation then serve as the basis for the development of an empirically grounded, critical understanding of socio-cultural structures and their transformation.
- Funding: partly through a Leverhulme Trust grant
- Completed project (2007-2016)
'As Frank C. Spooner noted in 1983, it was insurance and not war or diplomacy what made possible the opening of the markets in the Far East in the first decade of the seventeenth century (Risk at Sea: Amsterdam Insurance and Maritime Europe, 1766-1780, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press). Travelling with traders, insurance not only enabled venturing into unknown markets but also began to effect the globalisation of a rationality of thinking and managing uncertainty as risk. Insurance, more than a financial instrument is the embodiment of a rationality of thinking and managing uncertainty, a crucial element for the understanding of western globalization in the modern period'.
(Lobo-Guerrero, 2015, review of 'World Insurance: the evolution of a global risk network', ed. Borscheid and Viggo Haueter, OUP, 2012, Business History, 57:4, 638)
For some years I have been concerned with understanding governance in the modern period as the collective management of uncertainty. I have investigated this problem at the intersection of (global) political economy, security studies, and (international) political theory. I have explored how ideas of risk have been used to generate instruments of security such as insurance which play a central, if under-researched, role in global liberal governance. Employing a historical epistemological attitude, I have analysed contemporary and historical forms of insurance which transform uncertainty into risk as an instrument of governance. To this end I have written a trilogy of books to explore the relationship between insurance, security, and liberalism in the modern period.
Insurance and Power is a programme of research devoted to exploring how technologies of risk have informed understandings of power and security in global politics. It began in 2004 with a project entitled Emerging Securities and has resulted in several articles and a book trilogy that analyse three specific aspects of this problem: biopolitics, sovereignty and value.
Links to the books can be found here:
- Insuring Security: Biopolitics, Security and Risk (2011)
- Insuring War: Sovereignty, Security and Risk (2012)
- Insuring Life: Value, Security and Risk (2016)
The following lectures given at the Ecole Normale Superior draw on two of the books:
- The first explores the problem of Insurance and War, and can be seen here.
- The second draws on the problem of insuring life, and is accessible on this link.
Contemporary Biopolitical Security
- Funding: ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council, UK)
- Completed project: November 2008 – February 2011
Seminar series aimed at fostering debate, research and networking opportunities around the question, what does it mean to secure ‘life’ and ‘forms of life’ in the 21st century? The project was conducted at Keele University and King's College London.
- Workshop One : The Biopolitics of Mobilities and Circulations, 27-28 November 2008
Workshop Two : The Biopolitics of Resilience, 18-19 June 2009
- Workshop Three : The Biopolitics of Value(s), 19-20 January 2010
Workshop Four : Problematising Danger, 21-22 February 2011
- Funding: The Wellcome Trust, UK
- Completed project 2006-2007, together with Prof. Michael Dillon, Univ. Lancaster
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