Bruno Sowden-Carvalho

The idea of a global island: emoceans, ontological security and Britain’s political subjectivity in world politics.

Supervisors: Dr Marco Vieira and Dr Julie Gilson


Bruno Sowden-CarvalhoBruno’s research proposes a theoretical framework to investigate how and why the UK’s 'island nation' narrative has emerged as a defining element of Britain’s political subjectivity, examining the paradox of Britain’s geographical isolation versus its global insularity. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy, he introduces the concept of 'emoceans', which refers to the repression of oceanic flows of desire constitutive of political subjectivities. Bruno suggests that the UK’s maritime exposure over time has uniquely shaped an affective attachment to the idea of a global island. He argues that, although not new, the concept of a global island was solidified in the late 19th century, concurrent with the zenith of the British Empire and the establishment of Greenwich as the Prime Meridian. This establishment positioned the UK as the pivotal point and international axis for global time and space coordination. Bruno contends that these 'emoceans' have infused a sense of ontological security, instrumental in forming Britain’s political subjectivity and sustaining the paradoxical notion of a global island.


  • MA Maritime Studies – Brazilian Naval War College (2018-2019)
  • BA Naval Sciences – Brazilian Naval Academy (2008-2011)

Research interests

  • Maritime Security
  • Ontological Security
  • Maritime Strategy
  • British Foreign Policy
  • Deleuze and Guatarri’s political philosophy 


Bruno Sowden-Carvalho (former de Seixas Carvalho) is a teaching fellow at the University of Birmingham. He is the co-convenor of the European Studies Research Group at the University of Birmingham and the chair of the PGR Colloquium committee. He holds an MA in Maritime Studies from the Brazilian Naval War College, where his research focused on the evolution of maritime strategic thought between the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. His professional experience spans 13 years in the Brazilian Navy as a Surface Officer, where he served aboard various navy vessels and in staff officer roles. 

Teaching responsibilities

  • Teaching fellow University of Birmingham 

Conference papers

Carvalho, B.D.S., 2023. Giddensian Humanism in Ontological Security Studies: The Limits and Possibilities of the Subject. In: 10th European Workshops in International Studies, Amsterdam. 

Carvalho, B.D.S., 2023. The Emoceans Exceeding the Subject in World Politics: Desire and Ontological Security in Britain’s Foreign Policy. In: The British International Studies Association 46th Annual Conference, Glasgow. 

Carvalho, B.D.S., 2023. Exceeding the subject and (re)producing the self: affective environments, desire, and ontological security in the UK’s “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. In: Center for Security Research Annual Conference - Securing the Self in Strange Places and Times, Edinburgh.

Carvalho, Bruno de S. and Marco Vieira. “The Unbearable Incompleteness of Nations: Reading Bolsonaro’s Brazil through Ontological Security.” The British International Studies Association 46th Annual Conference, Bristol, 14-17 June 2022.

Carvalho, Bruno de S. 2022. “The oceanic role of affects: Royal Navy, soft power, and the affective investments in the UK’s maritime security in Southeast Asia”. The UK Indo-Pacific “tilt” and Southeast Asia: New Perspectives and Directions, Bristol, University of Bristol, 10 June 2022.

Carvalho, Bruno de S. 2021. "Civil-Military relations in the Brazilian Navy: ontological security and self-identity." Military in Politics in Brazil London, 27-28 May 2021.

Carvalho, Bruno de S. 2020. "As transformações do pensamento estratégico marítimo nos séculos XX e XXI: Construindo a securitização do mar " 5o Seminário dos Programas de Pós-Graduação das Força Armadas. Rio de Janeiro, 7-8 October.

Carvalho, Bruno de S. Rita Feodrippe, and William Moreira. 2019. "International Relations and Maritime Studies." The British International Studies Association 44th Annual Confer, London, 12–14 June 2019.


Sowden-Carvalho, B. and Valenca, M., 2024. Addressing IR 'maritime aphasia' through oceanic machines. Contexto Internacional. (Forthcoming). 

Carvalho, B.D.S., 2023. Here Be Dragons: Navigating the Uncharted Waters of AI, with Lessons from the Ocean. The Duck of Minerva. Available at: (Accessed Date).

Carvalho, Bruno de S., and Leonardo Mattos. 2022. "Beyond a Geopolitical view of the oceans: oceanpolitics and the singularity of the maritime domain." In The Influence of Sea Power Upon Maritime Studies, edited by Francisco Almeida and William  Moreira, p. 65-85. Rio de Janeiro: SDM.

Carvalho, Bruno de S., and Marcelo Valença. 2021. A pele do Leviatã e a Geopolítica do Vírus: a noosfera como território político dos afetos.  Revista Sul Global (2(1)):111-139

Carvalho, Bruno de S., Luiza Guitarrari, Guilherme Carvalho, and Marina Autran. 2021. "Global Britain, o Indo-Pacífico e o Brasil: Breves Considerações sobre o Integrated Review 2021."  Boletim Geocorrente 1 (02):10-25. doi: 10.21544/2446-7014.esp.n02.p10-25.

Carvalho, Bruno de S., Jéssica Barbosa, Ana Farias, and Victor Gaspar. 2021. "The Political and Strategic impacts of the U.S. Advantage at Sea 2020 for the Brazilian Maritime Domain."  Boletim Geocorrente 01 (01):01-09. doi:10.21544/2446-7014.esp.n01.p01-09.

Carvalho, Bruno de S., and Marcelo J. Loureiro. 2019. Ships, technology and the birth of maritime thought the epistemological influences on Mahan’s first influence.  Navigator: Subsídios para a História Marítima Brasileira 15. No. 30:96-110.

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