Teoriseminaret baserer seg på følgende tekst:

“The article introduces a new explanation of international order that focuses on representants. Representants are practices, artefacts and language that represent the units of the international system. They are crucial for international relations, given that international relations deal with an abstract macro-realm that can never be fully present, but needs to be represented and made concrete in specific localities.

An entirely faithful representation of an object is never possible. There is always a certain gap between a representation and what is being represented. In that gap lies the independent role of representants. Representants have four interrelated effects: 1) They define the units of the international system; 2) They legitimize them; 3) They provide them with differential degrees of power; 4) They serve as tools for governing.

When existing representants are seriously challenged, orders are in crisis; when new representants emerge, a new order has taken hold. The paper develops a mechanism of change emerging from struggles over representants. It studies the transition from the medieval order of universal monarchy to an order of divine right absolutism. Specific representants, such as gothic cathedrals, the mass, and coronation rituals maintained the medieval hierarchical order with the pope/emperor at the apex. The Reformation provided the impetus for kings to challenge the medieval order and adapt existing representants, so that they would portray the independence of kings from the papacy/emperor, and simultaneously position kings above feudal lords.”

Alena Drieschova er universitetslektor i internasjonale relasjoner ved Cardiff University. Hun arbeider med rollen som materiell kultur og teknologi har i internasjonale relasjoner, og på nasjonalisme, etniske konflikter og prosesser for nasjonsdannelse. Hun bruker etnografiske metoder i forskningen sin. Hennes regionale fokus fokuserer på Europa og Sør-Asia. Drieschova er assisterende redaktør av tidsskriftet New Perspectives: Journal of Central and Eastern European Politics and International Relations.

Teoriseminaret moderes av forskningssjef på NUPI, Ole Jacob Sending.