Bruno de Seixas Carvalho

Repressing desire and (re)producing the self: Ontological maritime security, and the participation of the ocean in Britain’s national narrative and policymaking (1890-1914/2016-2022).

Supervisors: Dr Marco Vieira and Dr Julie Gilson

Bruno de Seixas CarvalhoOntological Security Studies (OSS) have brought to the fore the articulation between emotions, identity, and foreign policy, under the premise that security as being (rather than only physical security) also relates to international agency. Yet, the field still relies on a subject-centred analysis which has insufficiently acknowledged the affective surrounding environments from which subjectivities emerge. Bruno’s research proposes an analytical framework to address such limitation, with emphasis on the relationship between states and the maritime domain. Instead of presupposing that subjects are seeking or avoiding ontological (in)security, Bruno claims that ontological security is what produces subjects and the very notion of self-identity. Building on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, he argues that states are immersed in/mutually entangled with the international environment through desiring-machines, constitutive of social organisations. Desire is what animates these assemblages, connecting heterogenous actors by endlessly flowing and continually producing temporary totalities. He argues that, by repressing/perverting the circulation of desire towards a static representation of collective self through emotionally infused national discursive narratives, states produce a sense of ontological security which composes the basis for their agency. Bruno empirically illustrates his theoretical claim by analysing Britain’s involvement with the ocean. He conceptualises the maritime domain as a desiring-machine, proposing the concept of ontological maritime security to understand two particular moments in Britain’s political trajectory: the perceived decline of the British empire between 1890-1914 and the UK’s post-Brexit atmosphere, between 2016-2022. In both cases, he seeks to demonstrate that the UK mobilised a narrative through which sea-related symbols managed to pervert the flows of desire enabled by the ocean itself. Bruno claims, respectively, that the formal emergence of the field of maritime strategy in Britain, rooted in the idea of Sea Power in the late Victorian/Edwardian times, and the more recent “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific have this emotional, yet unexplored, foundation. Bruno’s research brings an innovative contribution to the field of OSS, incorporating the notion of desire and desire-machines as well as providing an original theorisation on the role of the environment in the process of ontological security. It paves the way for the examination of what precedes and exceeds subjects and the conditions of possibility for their emergence, through an affective and affirmative assessment of the ocean.


  • 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 spent 13 years in the Brazilian Navy, as a Surface Officer. After serving on the Brazilian Frigate “Defensora”, submarine “Tikuna”, and Corvette “Julio de Noronha”, he worked as a staff officer in the Department of Naval Operations at the Second Squadron Command. Between 2018-2019 he did an MA in Maritime Studies at the Brazilian Naval War College where he theoretically examined the changes in maritime strategic thought between the 20th and 21st century, with a focus on the United States and United Kingdom. After his masters, Bruno served at the Brazilian Naval War College, as the head of the Laboratory of Simulations and Prospective Scenarios in the Research and Graduate Superintendency. He is currently a Teaching Fellow in the Department of POLSIS at the University of Birmingham, and chair of the POLSIS Talk committee. 

Teaching responsibilities

  • Teaching fellow University of Birmingham 

Professional memberships

  • Executive Editor of the Boletim Geocorrente (Brazil). Boletim Geocorrente is a fortnightly publication analysing international politics using a geopolitical framework. Bruno is responsible for selecting, editing, and providing feedback on the articles to be included in each edition.
  • Member of the Sea Economy group in the subgroup for maritime social relations (Brazil). . The Sea Economy group provides insights into the relevance of the maritime domain for society.  Bruno’s subgroup analyses the social dimension of the sea economy. He is responsible for writing policy briefs.
  • Member of the centre for strategic studies and marine planning in the subgroup of geopolitics and maritime governance (CEDEPEM) (Brazil). CEPEDEM is a multidisciplinary group, which seeks to understand marine planning and its diverse applications and conceptions worldwide. The subgroup of geopolitics and maritime governance focuses on armed movements and their political disputes involving the ocean and their impact for marine planning. I contribute to the writing of articles and policy briefs. 

Conference papers

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.


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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