Knowledge about violent conflict and international intervention is political. It involves power struggles over the objects of knowing (problematization/silencing), how they are known (epistemic practices), and what interpretations are taken into account in policymaking and implementation. This book unearths the politics, power and performances involved in the social construction of seemingly neutral concepts such as facts, truth and authenticity in knowing about violent conflict and international intervention. Contributors foreground problems of physical and social access to information, explore practices generating knowledge actors’ authority and legitimacy, and analyse struggles over competing policy narratives.
A first set of chapters focuses on the social construction of facts, truth and authenticity through studies of militia research in the DR Congo, politicians’ on-site visits in intervention theatres in the Balkans and Afghanistan, and the epistemic practices of Human Rights Watch and comics journalism. A second set of contributions analyses the strategic side of knowledge through case studies of diplomatic counterinsurgency in Bosnia and Herzegovina, African governments’ active role in the ‘bunkerization’ of international aid workers, and authoritarian peacebuilding as a challenge to the liberal power/knowledge regime in world politics.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.
Table of Contents
1. Knowledge production in/about conflict and intervention: finding ‘facts’, telling ‘truth’ Berit Bliesemann de Guevara & Roland Kostić 2. Bermuda triangulation: embracing the messiness of researching in conflict Suda Perera 3. Intervention Theatre: performance, authenticity and expert knowledge in politicians’ travel to post-/conflict spaces Berit Bliesemann de Guevara 4. Telling the stories of others: claims of authenticity in human rights reporting and comics journalism Julika Bake & Michaela Zöhrer 5. Shadow peacebuilders and diplomatic counterinsurgencies: informal networks, knowledge production and the art of policy-shaping Roland Kostić 6. Reproducing remoteness? States, international and the co-constitution of aid ‘bunkerization’ in the East African periphery Jonathan Fisher 7. The myopic Foucauldian gaze: discourse, knowledge and the authoritarian peace David Lewis
Berit Bliesemann de Guevara is a Reader at Aberystwyth University’s (Wales) International Politics Department and Director of the Centre for the International Politics of Knowledge. Her current research explores knowledge in international politics through projects on transnational think tanks, knowledge transfers, remote/local conflict knowledge, myths in international politics, and politicians’ fieldtrips.
Roland Kostić is an Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Research and Senior Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Uppsala University’s Hugo Valentin Centre, Sweden. His current research analyses knowledge production in peacebuilding interventions, its diversification/privatisation through think tanks, experts, policy makers and diplomats, and the role of informal networks.