Stockholm university

Mark Rhinard

About me

Mark Rhinard is Professor of International Relations at Stockholm University. He earned his MPhil and PhD degrees from Cambridge University and taught at Oxford University before being awarded a postdoc position at Leiden University. His research interests include the institutional contexts of international cooperation, particularly as they apply to ‘transboundary’ security threats including terrorism, natural disasters, and pandemics. Mark also serves as director of the multidisciplinary Graduate School of International Studies, and manages several internationally-funded research projects. He is also Research Director at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) and an external advisor to the European Policy Centre in Brussels. He is the author, co-author, or editor of Nordic Societal Security: Convergence and Divergence (2020, Routledge) of Theorising Internal Security Cooperation in the European Union (2016, Oxford), The European Commission (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), The European Union as Crisis Manager (2013, Cambridge) and Framing Europe: The Policy Shaping Strategies of the European Commission (2010, Nijhoff).


PhD Teaching

  • ‘Introduction to International Studies’
  • ‘Theorising International Relations’
  • ‘European Integration Theories’

Masters Teaching

  • ‘Research Methods in the Social Sciences’
  • ‘Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences’

Undergraduate Teaching

  • ‘Undergraduate Research Methods: Qualitative Analysis’, Stockholm University
  • ‘International Cooperation and Global Governance Challenges’, Stockholm University
  • ‘New Approaches to European Security Cooperation’, Stockholm University


Mark Rhinard's research interests include the institutional contexts of international cooperation, particularly as they apply to ‘transboundary’ security threats including terrorism, natural disasters, and pandemics.

Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Crisis management performance and the European Union: the case of COVID-19

    2022. Arjen Boin, Mark Rhinard. Journal of European Public Policy


    A seemingly continuous stream of crises in Europe has turned scholarly agendas towards assessment of the EU's management of crises. Those assessments vary widely, depending on the analytical focus and criteria used. This paper introduces three assessment criteria drawn from crisis research that pertain to the detection of a crisis, the mobilization of necessary resources, and the nature of the public debate about critical choices made in times of crisis. We relate these crisis management insights to long-standing debates in European integration theory to help link traditional crisis management assessments with EU-focused theorizing. The article offers a framework for assessment of the EU's performance as a crisis manager. We illustrate the utility of the framework with a brief application to the EU's response to Covid-19. We assess the EU's performance in positive terms: the Union acted quickly after a somewhat slow start and was very effective in mobilizing a variety of resources. At the same time, we note that major policy choices were made without a significant public debate about potential effects on the future character of the Union.

    Read more about Crisis management performance and the European Union
  • Approaches to 'vulnerability' in eight European disaster management systems

    2022. Kati Orru (et al.). Disasters. The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management 46 (3), 742-767


    While social vulnerability in the face of disasters has received increasing academic attention, relatively little is known about the extent to which that knowledge is reflected in practice by institutions involved in disaster management. This study charts the practitioners’ approaches to disaster vulnerability in eight European countries: Belgium; Estonia; Finland; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Norway; and Sweden. It draws on a comparative document analysis and 95 interviews with disaster managers and reveals significant differences across countries in terms of the ontology of vulnerability, its sources, reduction strategies, and the allocation of related duties. To advance the debate and provide conceptual clarity, we put forward a heuristic model to facilitate different understandings of vulnerability along the dimensions of human agency and technological structures as well as social support through private relations and state actors. This could guide risk analysis of and planning for major hazards and could be adapted further to particular types of disasters.

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  • Hiding in Plain Sight

    2020. Arjen Boin, Magnus Ekengren, Mark Rhinard. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy 11 (2)


    The COVID-19 crisis is a stark reminder that modern society is vulnerable to a special species of trouble: the creeping crisis. The creeping crisis poses a deep challenge to both academics and practitioners. In the crisis literature, it remains ill-defined and understudied. It is even harder to manage. As a threat, it carries a potential for societal disruption-but that potential is not fully understood. An accumulation of these creeping crises can erode public trust in institutions. This paper proposes a definition of a creeping crisis, formulates research questions, and identifies the most relevant theoretical approaches. It provides the building blocks for the systematic study of creeping crises.

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  • Nordic Societal Security

    2020. .

    Book (ed)

    This book compares and contrasts publicly espoused security concepts in the Nordic region, and explores the notion of societal security.

    Outside observers often assume that Nordic countries take similar approaches to the security and safety of their citizens. This book challenges that assumption and traces the evolution of ‘societal security’, and its broadly equivalent concepts, in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. The notion of societal security is deconstructed and analysed in terms of its different meanings and implications for each country, through both country- and issue-focused studies. Each chapter traces the evolution of key security concepts and related practices, allowing for a comparison of similarities and differences between these four countries. Using discourses and practices as evidence, this is the first book to explore how different Nordic nations have conceptualised domestic security over time. The findings will be valuable to scholars from across the geographical and theoretical spectrum, while highlighting how Nordic security discourses and practices may deviate from traditional assumptions about Nordic values.

    This book will be of much interest to students of security studies, Nordic politics and International Relations.

    Read more about Nordic Societal Security
  • The Crisisification of Policy‐making in the European Union

    2019. Mark Rhinard. Journal of Common Market Studies


    In recent years a subtle change has taken place in the policy‐making machinery shaping European integration. The traditional methods for producing collective European Union (EU) policies, typified by the extensive analysis of a problem, extended phases of consultation with stakeholders, the deliberate cultivation of support for proposals, occasional decision‐making moments and their long‐term implementation, now share space with what is best described as crisis‐oriented methods for arriving at collective decisions. These methods prioritize the early identification of the next crisis, specific kinds of actors and technologies, abbreviated decision‐making procedures and new narratives on the raison d'etre of European integration. This article treats this development as a kind of crisisification of EU policy‐making – a change in the processes by which collective decisions are made – and explores its implications for practice and research by drawing on both classical EU studies approaches and insights from critical security studies.

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  • The ‘political’ roles of the European Commission

    2019. Neill Nugent, Mark Rhinard. Journal of European Integration


    The extent to which the European Commission exercises ‘political’ roles in European integration is very much up for debate. Some recent analyses of the Commission take it for granted that its political roles have been in decline, while others have suggested they have increased – especially under the current President of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who was appointed in 2014 by a much more politicised process than had been used previously and whose College has sought to present itself as being guided by a political mission and as offering political leadership to the EU. In this article, we aim to show that in the debate about the political roles of the Commission, ‘political’ has often been poorly defined and operationalised. By drawing on Public Administration scholarship, we offer a framework for analysing how and where in the EU system the Commission’s political roles might become manifest. We then assess empirically these roles in different functions the Commission undertakes.

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  • European security and early warning systems

    2018. Louise Bengtsson, Stefan Borg, Mark Rhinard. European Security 27 (1), 20-40


    This article critically examines a poorly understood aspect of the European security landscape: early warning systems (EWSs). EWSs are socio-technical systems designed to detect, analyse, and disseminate knowledge on potential security issues in a wide variety of sectors. We first present an empirical overview of more than 80 EWS in the European Union. We then draw on debates in Critical Security Studies to help us make sense of the role of such systems, tapping into conceptual debates on the construction of security issues as either "threat" or "risk" related. Finally, we study one EWS - the Early Warning and Response System for infectious diseases - to understand how it works and how it reconciles risk versus threat-based security logics. Contrary to assumptions of a clear distinction between risk-and threat-based logics of security, we show that EWSs may serve as a "transmission belt" for the movement of issues from risk into threats.

    Read more about European security and early warning systems
  • Securitisation across borders

    2018. Louise Bengtsson, Mark Rhinard. West European Politics


    Global health governance has increasingly become articulated and acted upon in ways that emphasise ‘health security’. This article applies a collective securitisation approach to understand how a particular governance regime has evolved at the European level, one concerned with large-scale ‘threats’ to public health and societies at large. The analysis shows that alongside elite-level securitisation moves, transnational professional networks and bureaucratic actors have also taken part both as securitising agents and audience, with outcomes reflected not only in policy change but also new EU-specific surveillance technologies, institutional structures, and information-sharing platforms. While these developments are partially interlinked with global trends, we show that the EU has gradually institutionalised its own approach to health security. This new status quo is enshrined in a legal framework and set of practices with an all-hazards approach targeting preparedness, early detection and containment of ‘serious cross-border threats to health’ of any origin – beyond infectious disease.

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  • Theorizing Internal Security in the European Union

    2016. Raphael Bossong, Mark Rhinard.

    Book (ed)

    European Union internal security cooperation has flourished in recent years, drawing unprecedented attention from scholars. Yet studies in the field remain predominantly empirical, with only a smattering of disconnected and disparate theoretical frameworks. At this point in the development of the field, the time is right for a volume that surveys established and promising theoretical frameworks, provides a palette of options for explaining a complicated field, and reviews methodological considerations associated with different theories. This volume brings together leading scholars of different theoretical approaches used in the field, thus providing an essential reference text for new and experienced scholars alike while at the same time helping to consolidate theoretical advancements in the field. The book aims to enhance the prospects of cumulative theorizing in this area, to encourage the quality of theorizing and methodology in this area, and to connect this growing empirical area to broader theoretical debates in EU studies.

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  • Is the European Commission Really in Decline?

    2016. Neill Nugent, Mark Rhinard. Journal of Common Market Studies 54 (5), 1199-1215


    In the academic debate on the relative powers and influence of the EU institutions, it has become common to suggest - especially in the case of advocates of the 'new intergovernmentalism' - that the European Commission is in decline. In this article we show that while in some limited respects this is indeed the case, the Commission's overall position in the EU system is not one of having become a weaker institutional actor. The extent of the losses of its powers and influence tends to be exaggerated, while in some aspects its powers and influence have actually been strengthened. We show this by focusing on three of the Commission's core functions-agenda-setter, legislative actor and executive-all of which are widely portrayed as being in decline. We incorporate into our analysis both the formal and informal resources available to the Commission in exercising the functions.

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Show all publications by Mark Rhinard at Stockholm University