Accepted paper:

Mitigating Complicity: Advising the security apparatus in the name of peace


Eyal Ziggy Clyne (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on fieldwork among academic experts on Middle East in Israel, I discuss the mitigation of those of them who work with/for the security apparatus, and engage with both emic and etic approaches to their common assertion that such complicity is public intellectualism and a contribution to peace.

Paper long abstract:

My paper discusses the mitigation of complicity in conditions of Israeli cultural militarism. Drawing on some of my recent fieldwork on 'studying-up' the academic field of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in Israel, a number of my informants were/are working with/for the Israeli military intelligence, and/or military government over Palestinians, and/or advise to the Ministries of Security or Foreign Affairs, PMO, Parliament, etc. Their work is often explained in positivist terms, as well as public intellectualism, benefiting their society, and contributing to peace. Looking at ethnographic interviews, and analyzing their academic work, as well as public contributions, I suggest to consider Bourdieu's approach of the ways in which academics play part in a broader political game, and ask whether one can simultaneously be part of the mechanism of control and its contestant. Another discussion which might echo in my discussion is the degree to which academic work benefits a greater good, or is (merely?) justifying/rationalising elitist practices.

panel P21
Resistance and complicity