Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Lobo-Guerrero, L., Stobbe, A.
Knots, Port authorities and governance: Knotting together the port of Hamburg
(2016) Global Society, 30 (3), pp. 430-444.

DOI: 10.1080/13600826.2016.1173017

Ports and port systems have historically been pre-eminent global sites. Their role, which transcends that of connecting landed with maritime domains, is one without which the historically specific global connectedness and disconnectedness of cultures and regions such as Europe could not be understood. They are, however, largely forgotten as sites for the scholarly study of power and International Relations. Inspired by Foucault’s work, connectivity is here understood as an outcome of governance, the result of the strategic combination of practices of power that presupposes agency. The connectivity that ports afford constitutes a rich empirical space from which to interrogate how global and regional spaces such as Europe are actively constituted. The analytical challenge, however, is how to render port connectivity as an empirical site. The metaphor of knots is explored in this article as a way to explore how port governance as the result of actively combining disparate interests into a coherent whole provides such a site. To do so the figure of the port authority as a governing structure in the context of the European Union is explored. The case in point is that of the Hamburg Port Authority whose role is analysed as that of a “smart knot”. © 2016 University of Kent.

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