Portrait of Dr Maria Mälksoo

Dr Maria Mälksoo

Senior Lecturer

About

Maria Mälksoo earned her PhD in International Studies at the University of Cambridge (2008). Before joining BSIS in 2016, she worked as Senior Researcher in International Relations at the University of Tartu in her native Estonia. She has held post-doctoral research fellowships at the Centre for International Studies, London School of Economics and Political Science (2015), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2012), and the University of Tartu (2010-2014).

Dr Mälksoo has policy experience from the Estonian Ministry of Defence, International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, and the Office of the President of Estonia. She is a member of the editorial boards of International Political AnthropologyContemporary Security PolicyJournal of Genocide Research and New Perspectives. Maria currently serves at the CEEISA Executive Committee and the EISA Governing Board where she is in charge of organising the European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS).

Research interests

Her main research interests are at the intersection of security, memory and identity politics, and critical IR theory. Her previous research has covered social theoretic perspectives of the EU and NATO’s eastern enlargements, liminality in IR, conflicts over historical memory between Russia and its former Soviet/East European dependants, and the nexus between transitional justice and foreign policy on the example of post-communist Russia. Maria has collaborated with historians, lawyers and Russianists in her academic work. 

Her current research focuses on (i) the ritual practices of deterrence in NATO's eastern flank countries; (ii) hybrid warfare and Eastern Europe in European ontological security debates; and (iii) memory laws and memory wars in contemporary Ukraine.  Maria is the author of The Politics of Becoming European: A Study of Polish and Baltic Post-Cold War Security Imaginaries (Routledge, 2010) and a co-author of Remembering Katyn​ (Polity, 2012). Her most recent articles have been published in International Studies ReviewSecurity Dialogue, Contemporary Security Policy, and International Political Sociology.

Publications

Showing 50 of 103 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.

Article

  • Aalberts, T., Kurowska, X., Leander, A., Malksoo, M., Heath-Kelly, C., Lobato, L. and Svensson, T. (2020). Rituals of World Politics: On (Visual) Practices Disordering Things. Critical Studies on Security [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/21624887.2020.1792734.
    Rituals are customarily muted into predictable and boring routines aimed to stabilise social orders and limit conflict. As a result, their magic lure recedes into the background, and the unexpected, disruptive and disordered elements are downplayed. Our collaborative contribution counters this move by foregrounding rituals of world politics as social practices with notable disordering effects. The collective discussion recovers the disruptive work of a range of rituals designed to sustain the sovereign exercise of violence and war. We do so through engaging a series of ‘world pictures' (Mitchell 2007). We show the worlding enacted in rituals such as colonial treaty-making, state commemoration, military/service dog training, cyber-security podcasts,algorithmically generated maps, the visit of Prince Harry to a joint NATO exercise and border ceremonies in India, respectively. We do so highlighting rituals’ immanent potential for disruption of existing orders, the fissures, failures and unforeseen repercussions. Reappraising the disordering role of ritual practices sheds light on the place of rituals in rearticulating the boundaries of the political. It emphasises the role of rituals in generating dissensus and re-divisions of the sensible rather than in imposing a consensus by policing the boundaries of the political, as Rancière might phrase it. Our images are essential to the account. They help disinterring the fundamentals and ambiguities of the current worldings of security, capturing the affective atmosphere of rituals.
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). The Transitional Justice and Foreign Policy Nexus: The Inefficient Causation of State Ontological Security-Seeking. International Studies Review [Online] 21:373-397. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/isr/viy006.
    How does an approach towards transitional justice produce preconditions for a country’s international action, enabling certain policies and practices in the immediate neighborhood and international society at large? This article unpacks ontological security-seeking as a generic social mechanism in international politics which allows to productively conceptualize the connection between a state’s transitional justice and foreign policies. Going beyond the dichotomy of transitional justice compliance and non-compliance by gauging the role of states’ subjective sense of self in driving their behavior, I develop an analytical framework to explain how state ontological security-seeking relates to major transitions and consequent state identity disjuncture, the ensuing politics of truth and justice-seeking, and its international resonance in framing and executing particular foreign policies. I offer a typology of the international consequences of states’ transitional justice politics, distinguishing between reflective and mnemonical security-oriented approaches, spawning cooperative and conflictual foreign policy behavior, respectively. The empirical purchase of the purported nexus is illustrated with the example of post-Soviet Russia’s limited politics of accountability towards the repressions of its antecedent regime and its increasingly self-assertive and confrontational stance in contemporary international politics.
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). The Normative Threat of Subtle Subversion: The Return of ‘Eastern Europe’ as an Ontological Insecurity Trope. Cambridge Review of International Affairs [Online] 32:365-383. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2019.1590314.
    A combination of undemocratic developments in Hungary and Poland and the eastern Europeans’ foot-dragging about solidary burden-sharing at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe has brought back the familiar allusions of eastern Europeans as troublemakers for the European unity and peace. This article offers a discursive dissection of ‘eastern Europe’ as a subtly subversive challenge to Europe’s security of ‘self’, entailing a fear of being overrun by an ‘Other’ perceived as endangering one’s particular normative and cultural order. Proceeding from Ingrid Creppell’s (2011) notion of normative threat, I argue that the reappearance of ‘eastern Europe’ as an ontological insecurity trope points at a set of deeper anxieties within Europe, some of which are systemic (doubts about the efficacy of integration and the legitimacy of the European Union) and some more contingent (vacillation about defending the European political order from populist upsurge amidst ‘resurgent nationalism’)
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). A Baltic Struggle for a "European Memory": The Militant Mnemopolitics of The Soviet Story. Journal of Genocide Research [Online] 20:530-544. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/14623528.2018.1522828.
    This article examines the Latvian documentary The Soviet Story (by Edvi?ns Šnore, 2008) as a militant Baltic memory project which seeks to establish the parity of East and West European experiences with totalitarian crimes in the pan?European memory narrative of twentieth-century wars and genocide. The film offers a useful vantage point for investigating the interaction between memory politics and identity?building across the post?communist space and beyond. Claiming the inner similarity and moral equitability of Soviet communism and German National Socialism, The Soviet Story constitutes an epitome of the Historikerstreit in the Baltic fashion, debating the uniqueness of the Holocaust next to the crimes of communism. The so?called Holocaust template has been essential for the makers of the documentary in their insisting on the pan?European condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes in Europe, along with an invitation to critically review the role of the USSR in the Second World War. The Soviet Story is particularly critical about the Western discriminative standard of remembering the mass killings of Nazi Germany and the USSR, claiming such position's unsustainability on intellectual, moral, and political grounds. The article investigates The Soviet Story as an example of the cultural front in the Baltic?Russian "memory war" over remembering the Soviet legacy, reading the film's message in the context of the broader East European politics of seeking pan?European condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes. It further discusses the transnational efficacy of such mnemopolitical projects against the backdrop of intensified activity on the information operations front in the Baltic?Russian relations in recent years.
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Countering Hybrid Warfare as Ontological Security Management: The Emerging Practices of the EU and NATO. European Security [Online] 27:374-392. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09662839.2018.1497984.
    What are the ethical pitfalls of countering hybrid warfare? This article proposes an ontological security-inspired reading of the EU and NATO’s engagement with hybrid threats. It illustrates how hybrid threat management collapses their daily security struggles into ontological security management exercise. This has major consequences for defining the threshold of an Article 5 attack and the related response for NATO, and the maintenance of a particular symbolic order and identity narrative for the EU. The institutionalisation of hybrid threat counteraction emerges as a routinisation strategy to cope with the “known unknowns”. Fostering resilience points at the problematic prospect of compromising the fuzzy distinction between politics and war: the logic of hybrid conflicts presumes that all politics could be reduced to a potential build-up phase for a full-blown confrontation. Efficient hybrid threat management faces the central paradox of militant democracy whereby the very attempt to defend democracy might harm it.
  • Malksoo, M. and Piirimäe, K. (2018). EleVant 100 ehk piltide seletamine elusale jänesele. Diplomaatia [Online] 173. Available at: https://www.diplomaatia.ee/artikkel/elevant-100-ehk-piltide-seletamine-elusale-janesele/.
    This co-authored article marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, in the special issue of the Estonian foreign policy monthly Diplomaatia, dedicated for the occasion.
  • Piirimäe, K. and Malksoo, M. (2016). Western policies and the impact of tradition at critical junctures: the Baltic states after the First World War and the Cold War. Ajalooline Ajakiri : The Estonian Historical Journal [Online]:337-345. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/AA.2016.3-4.01.
    An introduction to the special issue on Baltic independence in the twentieth century, Ajalooline Ajakiri. The Estonian Historical Journal No 3/4 (2016).
  • Malksoo, M. (2016). From the ESS to the EU Global Strategy: external policy, internal purpose. Contemporary Security Policy [Online] 37:374-388. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13523260.2016.1238245.
    Security strategies are important sites for narrating the EU into existence as a security
    actor. The unveiling of a new global strategy on foreign and security policy for the EU
    immediately post-Brexit could be conceived as a pledge to remain together as a Union
    for the purposes of contributing to global security in a particular way. This paper offers
    a brief stock-taking of the EU's way of writing security from the European Security
    Strategy (2003) to the EU Global Strategy (2016). A concise exegesis of these
    documents exposes an interesting dynamic: as exercises in ordering the world, both
    strategic guidelines have turned out to be major exercises in ordering the self. The
    comparative snapshot shows the EU as increasingly anxious to prove its relevance for
    its own citizens, yet notably less confident about its actual convincingness as an
    ontological security framework for the EU's constituent members over time.
  • Malksoo, M. (2015). In Search of a Modern Mnemonic Narrative of Communism: Russia’s Mnemopolitical Mimesis during the Medvedev Presidency. Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society [Online] 1:317-339. Available at: http://spps-jspps.autorenbetreuung.de/de/jspps.html.
    This article examines the politics of memory in Russia during
    the Medvedev presidency (2008–12). It suggests an understanding
    of the proposals for a “new historical doctrine” in Russia during this
    period through the lens of mimesis. Russia’s search for a “modern”
    mnemonic narrative of communism could be interpreted as an attempt
    to “normalize” the country as an actor in international politics.
    The paper engages critically the question of whether the calls for mnemonical
    modernization subscribe to, or rather challenge, the Western
    power to define the normative meaning of what constitutes the proper
    way of coming to terms with the violent past. It problematizes the link
    between “mnemonical modernization” and international “normality”
    in contemporary Russian politics. The article argues that the emphasis
    on the volume of national suffering and martyrdom has not been
    matched with the discussion of the issues of responsibility in the calls
    to establish a “new historical doctrine” about communism in contemporary
    Russia.
  • Malksoo, M. (2015). Mäluseadused ja julgeolek [in Estonian; trans. Memory Laws and Security]. Vikerkaar [Online] 10-11:120-128. Available at: http://www.vikerkaar.ee/archives/13395.
  • Malksoo, M. (2015). ’Memory Must Be Defended’: Beyond the Politics of Mnemonical Security. Security Dialogue [Online] 46:221-237. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010614552549.
    This article supplements and extends the ontological security theory in International Relations (IR) by conceptualizing the notion of mnemonical security. It engages critically the securitization of memory as a means of making certain historical remembrances secure by delegitimizing or outright criminalizing others. The securitization of historical memory by means of law tends to reproduce a sense of insecurity among the contesters of the ‘memory’ in question. To move beyond the politics of mnemonical security, two lines of action are outlined: (i) the ‘desecuritization’ of social remembrance in order to allow for its repoliticization, and (ii) the rethinking of the self–other relations in mnemonic conflicts. A radically democratic, agonistic politics of memory is called for that would avoid the knee-jerk reactive treatment of identity, memory and history as problems of security. Rather than trying to secure the unsecurable, a genuinely agonistic mnemonic pluralism would enable different interpretations of the past to be questioned, in place of pre-defining national or regional positions on legitimate remembrance in ontological security terms.
  • Malksoo, M. (2014). Criminalizing Communism: Transnational Mnemopolitics in Europe. International Political Sociology [Online] 8:82-99. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ips.12041.
    The Eastern enlargement of the European Union has intensified calls for the reconstruction of a common European remembrance of the continent's multiple totalitarian legacies. Various political initiatives to condemn, along with counter-attempts to re-legitimize, the legacy of communism have emerged at the pan-European level. Each aspires to leave an imprint on the symbolic moral order and the legal regime of the broader European community. This article builds a conceptual framework for understanding the contestation of political and juridical regulation of the transnational remembrance of totalitarian communist regimes in Europe. Critically engaging the concept of cosmopolitanization of memory, it is argued that mnemonic identity in Europe is being transformed via new claims on “European memory.” These claims are being made by various East European actors seeking recognition of the region's particular historical legacies as part of the pan-European normative verdict on twentieth-century totalitarianisms.
  • Malksoo, M. and Seselgyte, M. (2013). Reinventing ’New’ Europe: Baltic Perspectives on Transatlantic Security Reconfigurations. Communist and Post-Communist Studies [Online] 46:397-406. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.postcomstud.2013.06.006.
    This article examines the self-positioning of the three Baltic states in international politics in relation to the major structural pressures challenging the status quo of the transatlantic security configuration. The constitutive role of the Russia-Georgia war of 2008, the global economic recession, the debt crisis in the eurozone, and the shifting policy preferences and force projection of the United States towards Asia are explored as the key sources of the emerging Baltic security predicament. The empirical conclusions of the poststructuralist discourse analysis conducted for this study demonstrate how the Baltic states, in particular Estonia, have recently come to redefine the contents of ‘new’ Europe, thereby shifting the extant fault lines within the European Union.

Book section

  • Malksoo, M. (2019). A Baltic Struggle for a “European Memory”: The Militant Mnemopolitics of The Soviet Story. In: Radonić, L. ed. The Holocaust/Genocide Template in Eastern Europe. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/The-Holocaust-Genocide-Template-in-Eastern-Europe/Radonic/p/book/9780367404949.
    This chapter (which originally appeared as part of the special issue of Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 20, 2018, no. 4, 'The Holocaust/Genocide Template in Eastern Europe') examines the Latvian documentary 'The Soviet Story' (by Edvīns Šnore, 2008) as a militant Baltic memory project which seeks to establish the parity of East and West European experiences with totalitarian crimes in the pan-European memory narrative of twentieth-century wars and genocide. The film offers a useful vantage point for investigating the interaction between memory politics and identity-building across the post-communist space and beyond. Claiming the inner similarity and moral equitability of Soviet communism and German National Socialism, The Soviet Story constitutes an epitome of the Historikerstreit in the Baltic fashion, debating the uniqueness of the Holocaust next to the crimes of communism. The so-called Holocaust template has been essential for the makers of the documentary in their insisting on the pan-European condemnation of totalitarian communist regimes in Europe, along with an invitation to critically review the role of the USSR in the Second World War. The Soviet Story is particularly critical about the Western discriminative standard of remembering the mass killings of Nazi Germany and the USSR, claiming such position’s unsustainability on intellectual, moral, and political grounds. The article investigates The Soviet Story as an example of the cultural front in the Baltic-Russian “memory war” over remembering the Soviet legacy, reading the film’s message in the context of the broader East European politics of seeking pan-European condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes. It further discusses the transnational efficacy of such mnemopolitical projects against the backdrop of intensified activity on the information operations front in the Baltic-Russian relations in recent years.
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). Countering hybrid warfare as ontological security management: the emerging practices of the EU and NATO. In: Ontological Insecurity in the European Union. London, UK: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Ontological-Insecurity-in-the-European-Union-1st-Edition/Kinnvall-Manners-Mitzen/p/book/9780367209537.
    A book chapter in an edited volume (by Catarina Kinnvall, Ian Manners, Jennifer Mitzen) Ontological Insecurity in the European Union (Routledge, 2019). This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal European Security.
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Liminality and the politics of the transitional. In: Wydra, H. and Thomassen, B. eds. Handbook of Political Anthropology. Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA, USA: Edward Elgar, pp. 145-159. Available at: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/handbook-of-political-anthropology.
    This chapter addresses transitions in world politics through the lens of the concept of liminality. Liminality refers to the middle stage and consequent positioning of subjects in transition between socially established categories. Comparative Politics and International Relations (IR) tend to focus on states in transit, generally understanding politics through an institutionalist lens and thus lacking the depth of the internal meanings of transition as experienced by the communities and people in question. Taking a critical stance on the narrow transition paradigm in the study of international politics, the optic of liminality helps reorient the thinking of politics in the moment of transition via two examples, namely, transitional justice and the transformation of contemporary warfare. Russia’s idiosyncratic policies of reckoning with the violent legacies of its predecessor, the USSR, and its ongoing engagement in the war in Ukraine serve as illustrations of both lines of inquiry pursued here.
  • Berg, E. and Malksoo, M. (2018). Konfliktid ja nende reguleerimine. In: Berg, E., Ehin, P., Kasekamp, A., Mälksoo, M., Piirimäe, E., Toomla, R. and Toomla, R. eds. Sissejuhatus Rahvusvahelistesse Suhetesse. Tartu, Estonia: Tartu University Press, pp. 225-251.
    Book chapter in the Estonian-language IR textbook 'Sissejuhatus rahvusvahelistess suhetesse' (Introduction to International Relations')
  • Malksoo, M. and Toomla, R. (2018). Julgeolekupoliitika. In: Berg, E., Ehin, P., Kasekamp, A., Mälksoo, M., Piirimäe, E., Toomla, R. and Toomla, R. eds. Sissejuhatus Rahvusvahelistesse Suhetesse. Tartu, Estonia: Tartu University Press, pp. 252-274.
    A book chapter in the Estonian-language IR textbook 'Sissejuhatus rahvusvahelistesse suhetesse' (Introduction to International Relations) by Eiki Berg, Piret Ehin, Andres Kasekamp, Maria Mälksoo, Eva Piirimäe, Raul Toomla, Rein Toomla (Tartu: Tartu University Press, 2018).
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). Kononov v. Latvia as the Ontological Security Struggle over Remembering the Second World War. In: Belavusau, U. and Gliszczynska-Grabias, A. eds. Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Available at: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/law/socio-legal-studies/law-and-memory-towards-legal-governance-history?format=HB#EZmMwJWrQtLuREV8.97.
    This chapter explores the Kononov v. Latvia case at the European Court of Human Rights through the lens of ontological security, taking it to be an emblematic illustration of competing Russian and Baltic claims on the narrative consistency of their state 'selves' and their conflicting bids on the legitimate remembrance of the Second World War and the Soviet legacy in general.
  • Malksoo, M. (2015). The Challenge of Liminality for International Relations Theory. In: Horvath, A., Thomassen, B. and Wydra, H. eds. Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality. New York, Oxford: Berhgahn Books, pp. 226-244. Available at: http://www.berghahnbooks.com/title.php?rowtag=HorvathBreaking.
    A slightly revised reprint of an earlier RIS article.
  • Malksoo, M. (2014). Introduction. In: Saueauk, M. ed. HIstorical Memory Versus Communist Identity. Proceedings of the Conference ’The Shaping of Identity and Personality under Communist Rule: History in the Service of Totalitarian Regimes in Eastern Europe’. Tartu, Estonia: Tartu University Press, pp. 9-18. Available at: http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=507876.
    This collection consists of articles on the subjects addressed by the research conference “The Shaping of Identity and Personality under Communist Rule: History in the Service of Totalitarian Regimes in Eastern Europe”, held in Tallinn, Estonia, on 9–10 June 2011 and arranged by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory Foundation and the Unitas Foundation. The organisers of the conference intended to describe, analyse and explain the state policies and activities used in Eastern Europe for shaping the Communist identity and personality by means of manipulating the historical consciousness, and the efficiency of those policies and activities, proceeding from the official historical approaches of the former Eastern bloc. Ideologically mutated history was the important component of the official, Communist identity. The artificial official history and the new historical identity it forced upon the population aspired to establish the sole possible truth by means of half-truths. Probably the most important thread that comes through every article in this collection is the conflict between the official, communist identity and the nation's historical memory, and its consequences.
  • Malksoo, M. (2013). Decentring the West from Within: Estonian Discourses on Russian Democracy. In: Morozov, V. ed. Decentring the West: The Idea of Democracy and the Struggle for Hegemony. Farnham, UK: Ashgate (now Routledge, Taylor and Francis Ltd), pp. 157-173. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Decentring-the-West-The-Idea-of-Democracy-and-the-Struggle-for-Hegemony/Morozov/p/book/9781409449706.
    This chapter traces the Estonian discursive dynamics on the contemporary Russian version of democracy after Estonia's accession to the EU in 2004. It puts forth an argument that securitising the twisted democratic model of today's Russia enables Estonia to present itself as an exemplary part of the Western democratic tradition, which is simultaneously portrayed as being on the defensive, attacked by the 'alien', or at least substantively different, Russian Other through its attempts to hijack the form and language of democracy and fill them with undemocratic contents.

Conference or workshop item

  • Malksoo, M. (2019). Theorising subjectivity through rituals. In: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (EISA PEC19).
    How are power and the boundaries of political communities (re)defined through rituals (and vice versa)? The project has a substantial focus on two elements: (i) the constitutive role of rituals in the establishment and exercise of power and authority on the one hand, and (ii) the creation of subjectivity and community on the other. Moreover, and crucially, whereas usually the emphasis lies with the stabilising effect of rituals, as a conservation and reaffirmation of existing orders, the international political order is always in process of becoming, and thus always prone to dislocation. As a second leg in this project we also seek to explore how rituals can work to stabilise but importantly also disrupt orders.
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). A Ritual Approach to Deterrence. In: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations.
    How can ritual help to elucidate the symbolism of deterrence? Traditional deterrence scholarship tends to overlook the active role of deterring actors in creating and redefining the circumstances to which they are allegedly only reacting. In order to address the weight of deterrence as a symbol, collective representation and strategic repertoire, this paper proposes to rethink deterrence as a performative and generative (ontological) security practice with ritual features, functions and effects. Riding the ‘fourth wave’ of deterrence studies, the paper posits a novel theoretical account for understanding the mediation of ambiguity in extended deterrence. Drawing on the example of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in the Alliance’s eastern flank, the proposed conceptualization of extended deterrence as an interaction ritual chain in allied defence, solidarity and community-building offers new insights about the deterrence and collective identity nexus. The case of eFP throws into stark relief the ontological security significance of ritualizing allied deterrence. Lacking social and political consensus about the severity of a threat in question, the ritualization of deterrence serves as a potent valve for communicating the credibility and commitment in an extended deterrence situation, along with answering the identity demands of a collective actor.
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). Rituals of World Politics: On Practices Disordering Things. In: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations.
    Roundtable contribution
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). Demystifying Publishing and Early Career Advancement. In: 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations (EISA PEC19).
    Roundtable contribution
  • Malksoo, M. (2019). 6th European Workshops in International Studies: Imagining a Nation, Performing an Alliance. In: 6th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2019), EWIS 2019: The Next 100 Years of International Relations, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland, 26-29 June 2019Jagiellonian University.
    Ever since Homer’s The Odyssey, the sea is frequently depicted as a liminal space, and the journey across the sea an important rite of passage in fictional and political imaginations alike. This paper explores the ritual meaning and function of the Baltic Sea as a political and military space via a twofold empirical focus. Proceeding from the understanding of ritual(ization) as a culturally strategic way of acting in the world and exercising power (Bell 2009), the first move examines the maritime imagining of a nation-space on the example of Estonia’s ex-president and ethnographer Lennart Meri’s historical travelogue Silver White (1976). This imaginative reconstruction of then Soviet-occupied Estonia’s ancient seafaring history and connectivities with the Baltic Sea region and beyond was a conscious exercise in linking a forgotten Baltic province to the mental map of a Nordic-Baltic region. Second, the paper unfolds the emerging maritime posture of NATO in the Baltic Sea region as an instance of the ritual performance of deterrence towards Russia, and thereby an important part of the Alliance’s performance of itself. In both cases, the sea emerges as a critical arena for building and reproducing political subjectivities and communities in world politics.
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Captive Minds, Subaltern Subjects? The Function and Agency of Eastern Europe in International Security Studies. In: ISA 2019 Annual Convention ’Re-Visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress’.
    Historically an object of rather than a subject in international security politics, Eastern Europe (EE) and the region’s specific insecurities are conventionally thought to have hardly informed theory-building in International Security Studies (ISS). Nor does the region with its constituents’ relatively young and occasionally disrupted state-and nation-building, and an obsession with state security thereof, appear as a primary candidate for ‘globalising IR’, commonly associated with overcoming state-focused analysis of international relations. What would it mean to rethink security from the subaltern perspective of EE? Through a critical discourse analysis of the ways EE has featured as a space, trope, and scholarly origin in the major ISS/IR journals over the past quarter-century, this paper delineates the intellectual import-export patterns between ISS and EE area studies. Conceptualising EE and the pertinent area studies as a pattern-effect in the circulatory system of knowledge generation about international security, I contend that EE has been instrumental for the ISS subfield as an exemplary student of the Western theory and practice of IR (‘captive minds’). EE has served as a ritual space for exercising the civilizing mission of the West and testing the related theories (security community building, democratisation, modernisation, Europeanisation, norm diffusion) in practice.
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Old Wounds, New Laws: Contesting and Legislating Memory after Genocide. In: ISA 2019 Annual Convention ’Re-Visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress’. Available at: http://web.isanet.org/Web/Conferences/Toronto%202019-s/Toronto%202019%20-%20Full%20Program.pdf.
    Roundtable contribution
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Russia’s Activities in Europe: Cold War, or Hot Air?. In: ISA 2019 Annual Convention ’Re-Visioning International Studies: Innovation and Progress’.
    Roundtable contribution
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). The Normative Threat of Eastern Europe: The Return of ‘Eastern Europe’ as an Ontological Insecurity Trope. In: 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’A New Hope: Back to the Future of International Relations’, EISA PEC18.
    A combination of undemocratic developments in Hungary and Poland and the eastern Europeans’ foot-dragging about solidary burden-sharing at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe has brought back the familiar allusions of eastern Europeans as troublemakers for the European unity and peace. This paper offers a discursive dissection of ‘eastern Europe’ as a subtly subversive challenge to Europe’s security of ‘self’, entailing a fear of being overrun by an ‘Other’ perceived as endangering one’s particular normative and cultural order. Proceeding from Ingrid Creppell’s (2011) notion of normative threat, I argue that the reappearance of ‘eastern Europe’ as an ontological insecurity trope points at a set of deeper anxieties within Europe, some of which are systemic (doubts about the efficacy of integration and the legitimacy of the European Union) and some more contingent (vacillation about defending the European political order from populist upsurge amidst ‘resurgent nationalism’).
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Memory Laws in Times of (Memory) War: Ukraine’s Militant Democracy Problem. In: 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’A New Hope: Back to the Future of International Relations’, EISA-CEEISA PEC18.
    This paper probes the urgency ‘militant democracy’ acquires during a democratic transition against the backdrop of a hybrid conflict. Ukraine’s decommunization laws raise a host of thorny questions about the legitimate defence of democracy in times of political transformation and war. Is restricting political freedoms in order to avoid their abuse a more acceptable solution in the context of ongoing nation-building, regime change and active conflict as compared to consolidated democracies during more ‘normal’ times? Mapping the debate on Ukraine’s most recent memory laws, I highlight hybrid warfare as an emerging horizon for militant democracy research, with important ethical and policy implications. Identifying Ukraine as a complex case of belated transition, I draw the inferences of its post-Maidan truth and justice-seeking policies for the EU’s policy on support to transitional justice.
  • Malksoo, M. (2018). The Ritual Performance of Deterrence: NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Alliance’s Eastern Flank. In: 5th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2018), ’The Return of Politics to International Relations’, University of Groningen.
    NATO’s post-Crimea Enhanced Forward Presence (efP) in the Baltic states and Poland is considered to be ‘part of the biggest reinforcement of Alliance collective defence in a generation’. The belated physical performance of NATO deterrence in the Baltic region in symbolic rather than actual numbers necessary for thwarting a full-scale Russian attack is evocative of the ritual nature of the Alliance’s collective defence commitment. Deterrence is, by definition, an act of faith: it lacks physical reality and its success can be measured by ‘nothing much happening’ (Gray, 2001). Proceeding from the understanding of ritual(isation) as a culturally strategic way of acting in the world and exercising power (Bell, 1991), this paper dissects the ritual practice of NATO’s deterrence pledge today. The bolstering of NATO’s traditional mission against its archenemy manages the demands of the Allied communitas, reordering the boundaries between the original members and post-Cold war additions to the Alliance. I pinpoint the symbolic work this rite of solidarity does in the enactment of NATO’s historical raison d’être, and mediating its current ontological security requirements. The efP enables to think through the relationship between ritualisation, routines and habits on the example of the self-proclaimed ‘most successful military alliance in human history’.
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). Envisioning Europe from the East: À la recherche du temps perdu with Vaclav Havel and Lennart Meri. In: 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises’, EISA PEC17, Barcelona.
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). The Emerging Western Practices of Countering Hybrid Warfare. In: 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises’, EISA PEC17, Barcelona.
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). The Role of Professional Associations Beyond the Ivory Tower. In: 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises’, EISA PEC17, Barcelona.
    Roundtable contribution
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). ‘‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring’: Brexit’s impact on European Security’. In: 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations ’The Politics of International Studies in an Age of Crises’, EISA PEC17, Barcelona.
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). The Transitional Justice and Foreign Policy Nexus: Setting the Framework via the Hard Case of Post-Soviet Russia. In: 4th European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2017), Cardiff, UK.
  • Malksoo, M. (2016). Ukraine’s Decommunization Laws: A Hard Case for the EU Policy on Transitional Justice?. In: EUSA Fifteenth Biennial Conference, Miami, USA.
  • Malksoo, M. (2016). Countering Hybrid Warfare: The EU and NATO Mediating between Daily Security and Ontological Security. In: ISA 2017 Workshop, ‘Fear, Trauma and Belonging: The Everyday of Ontological Security in International Relations’, ISA Annual Convention 2017, Baltimore USA.
    Paper presented at the ISA 2017 workshop ‘Fear, Trauma and Belonging: The Everyday of Ontological Security in International Relations’, ISA 2017 Annual Convention, Baltimore, USA, 21-24 Feb 2017.
  • Malksoo, M. (2016). State Identity Disjuncture and the Politics of Transitional Justice: The Case of Russia. In: CEEISA-ISA Joint Conference 2016.
  • Malksoo, M. (2016). Transitional Justice-Foreign Policy Nexus: The International Implications of Russia’s Political Handling of its Communist Past. In: First Annual Tartu Conference on Russian and East European Studies ‘Europe Under Stress: The End of a Common Dream?’.
  • Malksoo, M. (2013). The Soviet Story and the East European Struggle for a European Memory. In: ‘Competing Memories’ Conference, University of Amsterdam.
  • Malksoo, M. (2013). East European Mnemopolitics and the Existential Revolution in Europe. In: ASEES 2013 Annual Convention.
  • Malksoo, M. (2013). Beyond Mnemonical Security. In: 8th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, EISA PEC13.
  • Malksoo, M. (2013). The Struggle for the “Right to Remembrance” and the Power Politics of Memory in Europe. In: 1st European Workshops in International Studies (EWIS 2013).

Internet publication

  • Malksoo, M. (2018). Decommunization in Times of War: Ukraine’s Militant Democracy Problem [Internet publication]. Available at: http://verfassungsblog.de/decommunization-in-times-of-war-ukraines-militant-democracy-problem/.
    Ukraine’s decommunization laws raise fundamental questions about the legitimate defense of democracy in times of political transformation and war. Is there a ‘right’ democratic response to confining antidemocratic legacies and their palpably present effects in the context of an active intrastate (if internationally instigated) conflict, such as in the case of Ukraine? Has Ukraine struck a good balance between protecting its ‘national memory’ and sustaining the claim of thus defending its nascent democracy through its legal regulation of the public memory of communism, Nazism and the Second World War? Or do the decommunization laws rather undermine the country’s democratization efforts due to the challenge that banning the communist party and criminalizing pertinent speech acts (‘propaganda’) present to such fundamental democratic values as freedom of speech and association, and political pluralism? Is the canonization of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) obstructing academic research and public debate on their controversial historical record? Is militant democracy a more acceptable solution in the context of ongoing nation-building, regime change and active conflict (including a continued ‘memory war’) as compared to consolidated democracies during more ‘normal’ times?
  • Malksoo, M. (2017). Interview - Maria Mälksoo [Online publication]. Available at: http://www.e-ir.info/2017/09/22/interview-maria-malksoo/.
    This interview to E-International Relations explores the ontological security and identities of the Baltic states and compares the historical memory of these states to the Russian biographical narrative.
  • Opperman, K., Morozov, V., Malksoo, M. and Morrow, J. (2016). Brexit Symposium [Open access website]. Available at: http://www.e-ir.info/2016/09/10/brexit-symposium/.

Review

  • Malksoo, M. (2020). Review of ‘Liminal sovereignty practices: Rethinking the inside/outside dichotomy’. Cooperation and Conflict [Online] 55:305-307. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0010836720931135.
    ‘Liminal sovereignty practices: Rethinking the inside/outside dichotomy’ moves away from the standard depiction of sovereignty as operating on the line between the inside and the outside of the state (Loh and Heiskanen, 2020). The authors seek to reconceptualize the said dividing line (border line) as a liminal space (border space) and, by extension, theorize the concept of liminality in greater depth and nuance. Sovereignty is accordingly taken to be grounded in three distinct spaces (the domestic society, the international realm and the liminal space between the two), loaded with various sovereignty practices. Liminality is theorized as an attribute of sovereignty. The authors offer a systematization of various ambiguous types of ‘borderline’ sovereignty, contesting the standard notions and practices of sovereignty to varying degrees. The article distinguishes between four distinct kinds of liminality: marginal (e.g., contested states); hybrid (e.g., indigenous peoples/tribal sovereignty); interstitial (e.g., non-state actors); and external (e.g., terrorists and anarchists) liminality – each with unique actors, practices and consequences for the concept of sovereignty.
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