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Fwd: CfP ISA 2012 Perspectives on Intervention

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  • Annick T.R. Wibben
    ... anyone interested in adding a feminist perspective here? Annick* ... From: Daniel Bendix Date: Mon, May 2, 2011
    Message 1 of 1 , May 2, 2011
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      ... anyone interested in adding a feminist perspective here?

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Daniel Bendix <Daniel.Bendix@...>
      Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 4:53 AM
      Subject: CfP ISA 2012 Perspectives on Intervention
      To: BISAPPWG@...

      CfP ISA Annual Convention 2012
      “Power, Principles and Participation in the Global Information Age"

      Perspectives on intervention –
      Rationalities and translation, resistance and effects

      Panel Chairs: Kai Koddenbrock (Magdeburg) / Chandra-Milena Danielzik (Berlin)
      Discussants: David Chandler (Westminster) / Klaus Schlichte (Bremen)

      Overall Aim
      The scholarship on interventions is legion. Yet, the different perspectives hardly engage with each other. This panel wants to contribute to dialogue between the perspectives and aims to bridge the gap between the different realities of intervention they create. To do so, it explores four key critical perspectives on intervention particularly alive today. These focus on the rationalities of intervention, on processes of translation in the course of intervention, on resistance to it, and on its unintended effects. They are often indebted to Michel Foucault's biopolitics and resistant counter-conduct, Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, and to Norbert Elias and Max Weber’s historical sociology of the State. When employed in IR today to analyze state- or peacebuilding, development cooperation and humanitarian relief it seems they are not referring to the same things at all. These theories create different realities of intervention. However, as we speak, all kinds of real interventions are taking place globally (and to a large extent in the global South): Teasing out the theoretical and political strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches is thus a timely endeavor.

      Despite heated debates about military intervention and state-building since Iraq and Afghanistan, the latest events in Libya have shown that they have been far from conclusive. “Humanitarian intervention” seemed to be an old-fashioned term from the 1990s. Yet, it is today happily made use of again. Beyond the strategic debates about NATO or unilateral interventions, the more subtle interventions of development professionals, peacekeepers, and humanitarians have been growing in importance worldwide. Not only have recurring disasters like those in Pakistan or Haiti set off large humanitarian operations, they also give rise to new waves of “development cooperation”. Their ubiquity all over Africa, Asia, and Latin America also does not seem to cease. Furthermore, so-called rising powers also realize the value of aid for public diplomacy and increasingly play a prominent role in it. At the same time, peacekeeping continues to be changing as seen during the recent events in Cote d’Ivoire and the Congo where UN peacekeepers have started to more clearly side with one party of the conflict.

      These interventions – development programs, peacekeeping missions, military interventions and humanitarian aid – taking place, largely with the consent of the host government and so called civil society organizations, are an important aspect of international relations and should be at the heart of IR. Yet, a differentiated and critical understanding of interventions could be promoted by inter-disciplinary dialogue involving political theorists, sociologists, geographers and anthropologists resorting to these four perspectives.

      Four critical perspectives
      -        Scholars looking at biopolitical, neo-liberal and (post-)colonial rationalities of intervening agents examine the conceptions of life and the political, of subjects and the different forms of intervention (e.g. peacekeeping, army and police reform, development and humanitarian aid). In what way do dominant rationalities shape the way interventions are undertaken? What is their historical genealogy? To what extent do these rationalities connect to economic and political interests? Some identify a shift away from the promotion of liberal autonomy towards “post-liberal governance” (Chandler) or see “securing the biohuman” (Reid) as the project of interventions, while others point to the strategy of “containing” the poor masses of the global South (Duffield) or to a “humanitarianization of politics” (Fassin)

      -        Processes of translation during interventions – and within and between stakeholders – are least studied. How do people and organizations in the field of interventions represent the realities they face, how do they make them comprehensive and how to they make them travel? Here, the functions of information and “knowledge” are key. While new technologies have facilitated fund-raising for operations and increased the impact of advocacy campaigns, they do not compensate for the necessity to engage in processes of translation – which necessarily has to take place between and among people and places, between organizations, from headquarters to “field” offices (Rottenburg; Schlichte & Veit) and last but not least between interveners and the intervened. Focusing on processes of translation allows to make the panoply of rationalities visible (Lewis and Mosse) and may counter or amend generalizations made by scholars analyzing biopolitical, neo-liberal or (post-)colonial rationalities.

      -        Scholar focusing on resistance and agency of the “objects” of interventions question the unidirectional, all-encompassing power of interventions and the intervening agents. What is the assertiveness of intervention and of its “objects” after all? They emphasize the interactive process of interventions, in which the subjectivities of stakeholders and thus the nature of the interventions are altered. The conduct of those who are often neglected as political and social subjects and agents is thus given credit (Spivak; Agier; Sabaratnam). Given the cooptation and diversion of intervention activities by the “target groups”, the notion and conceptions of power have to be reconsidered

      -        Zooming in on the effects of interventions, their complexity can be accounted for through historically sensitive rather sociological perspectives. They take into consideration the historically grown ideologies and power relations (class, caste, gender, racialization and ethnicization) within societies as well as globally, and track their transformations in the course of and after interventions. These studies show, for example, how entrenched colonial power relations remain largely unchanged or are even reproduced by interventions (Veit) or identify a simultaneous internationalization and informalization of the intervened state (Bliesemann de Guevara).

      This panel invites papers from IR scholars, sociologists, geographers, anthropologists and other interested scholars working from these four broad perspectives. Please send an abstract of about 300 words to Kai Koddenbrock (kai.koddenbrock@...) and Chandra-Milena Danielzik (chandra.danielzik@...) by 10 May 2011. Information about the ISA Convention 2012 can be found at: http://www.isanet.org/annual_convention/)

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      Annick T.R. Wibben, Ph.D.

      Chair, International Studies
      Asst. Professor, Politics
      University of San Francisco
      2130 Fulton Street
      San Francisco, CA 94117-1080

      Phone 415.422.5058
      Fax 415.422.2101
      Email awibben@...

      Author of Feminist Security Studies: A narrative approach (Routledge, 2010):
      Now also available on Kindle:

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