The CSS Blog Network

Switzerland: Quo Vadis?

Minaret in Serrières, Switzerland

Minaret in Serrières, Switzerland

It was the first Sunday of Advent and a black day for everyone who cherishes the values of enlightenment. It was unexpected since everyone seemed to be against it: almost all political parties, the national churches, representatives of the economy and many other organizations.

But it happened still: The Swiss banned the construction of minarets in yesterday’s vote.

Reactions after the result were impressive. Within minutes I received text messages and Facebook group invitations from all sorts of people. One of the groups is “I am ashamed of the results of the Anti-Minaret initiative!.” When I wanted to invite more friends to join I realized that they were all already there – from the most conservative to the most liberal people I know.
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Recommended Reading: Handbook of Security Studies

Routledge Handbook of Security Studies

Routledge Handbook of Security Studies

Myriam Dunn Cavelty, Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the Crisis and Risk Network (CRN) and Victor Mauer, Deputy Director of the Center for Security Studies (CSS) recently published the Routledge Handbook of Security Studies.

Focusing on contemporary challenges, this major new Handbook offers a wide-ranging collection of cutting-edge essays from leading scholars in the field of security studies.

The field of security studies has undergone significant change during the past 20 years, and is now one of the most dynamic sub-disciplines within international relations. It encompasses issues ranging from pandemics and environmental degradation to more traditional concerns about direct violence, such as those posed by international terrorism and inter-state armed conflict. A comprehensive volume, comprising articles by both established and up-and-coming scholars, the Handbook of Security Studies identifies the key contemporary topics of research and debate today.

This work is a benchmark publication with major importance both for current research and the future of the field. It will be essential reading for all scholars and students of security studies, war and conflict studies, and international relations.

The Handbook can be purchased online.

For more information on international security check out the ISN website.

Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Victor Mauer (eds.) (2009), Handbook of Security Studies, London and New York: Routledge.

Energy and the Transformation of International Relations

Energy and the Transformation of International Relations

Energy and the Transformation of International Relations

We highly recommend the new book on energy security published by Andreas Wenger, Director of the Center for Security Studies (CSS), together with Robert W Orttung and Jeronim Perovic, both visiting scholars at the Center for Security Studies – Energy and the Transformation of International Relations.

With energy security at the top of the global agenda, Energy and the Transformation of International Relations examines the development of a new producer-consumer framework. As the era of cheap energy comes to an end, Asia’s demand for energy grows, and concerns over climate change increase, it is clear that the old framework is no longer sustainable in this new era. This book examines the evolving relations between the key producers (Middle East, Russia, Latin America and Africa), traditional consumers (the US and Europe), and new consumers (China and India) as they adjust to the changing marketplace and political realities. At the center of the book is the key question of how dynamics in the global energy market affect the nature of international relations. The authors argue that while conflict over resources is possible, there are many opportunities for international cooperation regarding energy resources.

The book can be purchased online.

For more information on energy security check out the ISN website.

Andreas Wenger, Robert W Orttung, Jeronim Perovic (eds.) (2009), Energy and the Transformation of International Relations. Toward a New Producer-Consumer Framework, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The ISN at the OIC

The ISN will attend the Online Information Conference 2009 in London 1-3 December. Consisting of an exhibition hosting over 9,000 visitors  from 70 countries, a conference and a show floor seminar program, the event provides an annual meeting place for the global information industry. The ISN will have a stand and our head of OSINT and strategy, Chris Pallaris, will give a talk entitled “The ‘Intelligence Potential’ of Corporate Libraries and Knowledge Repositories,” scheduled in the Libraries and eBooks section for Wednesday, 2 December, 12.45-13.15.

Chris will also give a talk on 3 December at the London School of Economics entitled Empires of the Mind: Information, Technology and the Geopolitics of Knowledge. Please see the event listing for more information.

From 11 to 5

Nixie clock / Photo: Public domain, Wikipedia

Nixie clock / Photo: Public domain, Wikipedia

Russia is the largest country on the planet and as such faces special challenges. Who else has to organize such a vast territory that at the moment spans over 11 time zones? Did you know that the difference between Omsk Time and Magadan Time is exactly 5 hours?

To ease the burden of space and time, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed to actually reduce the number of time zones in the country from 11 to 5. Pointing to the economic advantages of the reduction, he underlined benefits for communication and traveling. It’s definitely an organizational challenge if a businessman in Kaliningrad in Russia’s far west is calling a business partner in Vladivostok, which is in the far east.

Yet, time is not only in Russia a political issue – also China decided after the Communist Revolution of 1949 to abolish the up until then existing 5 time zones in favor of only one zone, of course that of Beijing. Whether or not this has helped to strengthen the central leadership and to unify the national political movements no one can say, but one can imagine what that means for the inhabitants of western China.

Changing time and its measurement goes over the powers of most politicians, as the fate of the Soviet calendar as well as of its French Republican counterpart proves. So it remains to be seen how far Medvedev’s proposal will get.

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