I am a political geographer who investigates the workings of expertise in policy-making processes. I examine how national and transnational institutions, such as government agencies, international organizations, or civil society groups, know what they know, how they have come to know what they know, and how they persuade themselves and others that this is so. My current work examines diplomatic practices in Europe and the Arctic, but this empirical focus undergirds a broader interest in knowledge and power in bureaucratic settings. I have also worked on, and remain interested in, political identity and subject-formation. Further information on research, teaching, and graduate student supervision, is available on my research website on the left-hand side of this page.
The list below highlights the key themes in my current research. Bibliographic information on publications, including links to the webpages of the books, is listed under the tab ‘Publications’ and on my personal website.
Policy processes and the politics of expertise
Policy impinges on all aspects of self and society. It shapes not just societal outcomes but, more importantly, the processes that produce these outcomes. To study policy is to investigate a dynamic and unpredictable process that transgresses the convenient distinctions between state and non-state actors. Empirically, my research focuses on the European Union as a key power center in today’s world. Any attempt to understand the diffuse operation of power in the international sphere must closely consider the EU in its ambiguously transnational operation.
Geopolitics, security, and diplomacy
This strand in my research focuses on the geographical assumptions and definitions that underpin international politics in general and diplomatic negotiation in particular. These assumptions are central to the processes by which complex political issues come to be defined and managed in a particular manner. Empirically, my current work focuses on transnational diplomatic practices in the European Union. This example anchors a broader argument about knowledge and authority in bureaucratic settings.
The Arctic is a scene of hot diplomatic activity as many state and non-state actors seek to influence governance processes there. A new strand in my research focuses on regulatory power and regulatory competition in the Arctic. It examines, in particular, the efforts of China and the European Union to increase their influence in Arctic governance. My effort is to advance our understanding of the emerging inter-national and trans-national regulatory regimes in the Arctic.
The list is complete for the last year or so but includes only the principal publications on some of the earlier years. See my research website for the complete list.
KUUS, M. (2021) ‘Bureaucratic sociability, or the missing eighty percent of effectiveness: the case of diplomacy’. Geopolitics. Online early https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2021.1934672
KUUS, M. 2020. “Professions and their expertise: charting the spaces of ‘elite’ occupations”. Progress in Human Geography. Online early: https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132520950466
KUUS, M. 2020. ‘Regulatory power and region-making in the Arctic: China and the European Union’ (Euro commentary). European Urban and Regional Studies vol. 27, 4: pp. 321-324. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969776420925539.
KUUS, M. 2020. ‘Europe’s future depends on perspective not policy’. New Perspectives 28 (3): pp. 270-274. Essay based on Keynote Address 1B at the Hamburg (Insecurity) Sessions, 21 November 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/2336825X20934970
KUUS, M. 2020. ‘Toward the geopolitics of geoeconomic ideas’. In ‘Reading Geopolitics of the Knowledge-Based Economy by Sami Moisio’ (review forum). Political Geography 80, June 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0962629820301980
KUUS, M. 2020. ‘Political Geography III: Bounding the International’. Progress in Human Geography vol. 44, 6: pp. 1185-1193. This is the third of three progress reports commissioned by the journal. (https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132519869457).
KUUS, M. 2020. Powerful and Elite Subjects. In J. Darling and H. Wilson (ed.). Research Ethics for Human Geography: A Handbook for Students, pp. 202-210.
KUUS, M. 2020. ‘Political Geography II: Institutions’. Progress Report. Progress in Human Geography 44(1) 119–128. Second of three progress reports on political geography. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132518796026.
KUUS, M. 2019 ‘The terroir of bureaucratic practice: Everyday life and scholarly method in the study of policy’ Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 37(4), 617-633 https://doi.org/10.1177/0263774×18802954
KUUS, M. 2019. ‘Political Geography I: Agency’, Progress in Human Geography 43 (1): 163-171, 2019. First of three progress reports on political geography. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0309132517734337
KUUS, M. 2019. ‘State Power, Spatial Inequality, and Geographical Expertise: Notes on Method’. In Thilo Lang and Franziska Görmar (eds). Regional and Local Development in Times of Polarisation: Rethinking Spatial Policies in Europe. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 79-94.
KUUS, M. 2018 ‘Transnational institutional fields: Positionality and generalization in the study of diplomacy’ Political Geography 67, 156-165 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.02.008
KUUS, M. 2018 ‘Political economies of transnational fields: harmonization and differentiation in European diplomacy’ Territory, Politics, Governance 6(2), 222-239 https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2016.1266960
KUUS, M. 2016 ‘To Understand the Place: Geographical Knowledge and Diplomatic Practice’ The Professional Geographer 68(4), 546-553
KUUS, M. 2016 ‘Diplomacy and Audit: Technologies of Knowledge in Europe’ Geoforum 68(1), 39-47
KUUS, M. 2015 ‘Symbolic Power in Diplomatic Practice: Matters of Style in Brussels’ in Diplomacy and Practice Theory ed V. Pouliot and J. Cornut (special issue: Cooperation and Conflict) 50(3), 368-384.
KUUS, M. 2015 ‘For Slow Research’ (short commentary) in Debates and Developments forum: Urban Policy Mobilities: Moving Forward ed C. Temenos and T. Baker International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39(4), 838-840
KUUS, M. 2015 ‘Transnational Bureaucracies: How Do We Know What They Know?’ Progress in Human Geography 39(4), 432-448
I work with students whose interests focus on policy processes, the politics of expertise, security, and political identity. See my research website for further information.