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Irre02a


Beyond success and failure, the war on terror, and liberal peace: charting new directions for an anthropology of international intervention I 
Convenors:
Andrew Gilbert (University of Toronto)
Susann Kassem (University of Oxford)
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Chairs:
Andrew Gilbert (University of Toronto)
Susann Kassem (University of Oxford)
Discussant:
Darryl Li (University of Chicago)
Stream:
Irresponsibility and Failure
Sessions:
Wednesday 31 March, 14:15-15:45 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel invites papers that critically examine current approaches and chart possible future directions for an anthropology of international intervention.

Long Abstract

Anthropologists studying international intervention have reached a crossroads. Many of their methods and approaches have been adopted by non-anthropologists: political scientists, geographers and inter-disciplinary scholars do fieldwork; they are sceptical of the discursive frameworks (War on Terror) and normative theories (Liberal Peace) employed by intervention sponsors; they identify relations of hierarchy, inequality and outright domination constructed through international intervention; and they have realized the limits of analysing interventions according to the technocratic terms and success/failure concerns of their agents. At the same time, the grand ambitions of post-Cold War nation-building, international peacekeeping, emancipatory development, and universal humanitarianism have receded into reduced hopes to manage or contain conflict and suffering. In other words, global conditions have changed, yet the misery, injustice, and violence that prompt international (and anthropological) responses remain. At this historical moment, what contribution can anthropology make to the study of international intervention? And what is the responsibility of the (Western) anthropologist in intervention contexts? This panel invites papers that critically examine current approaches and chart future directions for an anthropology of international intervention. These could include: - historicizing interventions within a longer trajectory of political-economic and socio-cultural relations; - building upon the anthropology of colonialism, particularly its focus on what was innovative and produced in encounters across difference and inequality; - imagining what calls for a more "engaged anthropology" could mean in present contexts of international intervention; - recuperating anthropology's tradition of ethnographic story-telling to foreground marginalized voices and experiences and better capture the complex life-worlds of intervention.

Accepted papers: