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Amory A239C

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Special workshop on Spaces of Conflict, Security and Development

A Centre of Advanced International Studies workshop
Date7 March 2018
Time12:00 to 16:30
PlaceAmory A239C

Panel 1 “Peacebuilding, territory and space” (12:00-1:30, Amory 239C, chair John HEATHERSHAW):

  • Klejda MULAJ: Reading International-led State Building: Wicked Problems, Eurocentrism, and Mimicry.
    • Responding to a set of wicked problems pertaining to weak or failed states, state building remains circumscribed by many of the problems it strives to address. Despite the expansion of the literature, the challenging task of (re)building states in a postconflict setting is characterised by inadequate intellectual and policy coherence. Engaging with the existing literature, this paper seeks to add clarity in ways which relate directly to the agendas of academic research and policy-making. Addressing the prevailing ahistoricism in the appraisals of state building, the analysis suggests that the genealogy of contemporary state building can be traced in processes of state formation in Western Europe that may explain the predominant Eurocentric model pursued in the contemporary postconflict state building missions. Casting into sharper relief what is distinctive and/or familiar in state formation processes in the West and the rest of the world the paper stresses the differing impact of nationalism. In considering the critique that contemporary state building neglects nation building, the paper highlights the mediating role of nationalism in the construction of the national community. It contends that the stateness of polities undergoing state building is intrinsically linked with nationhood. But this linkage is besieged by an ambivalence of mimicry that results in a partial representation of the nation – not unlike experiences of postcolonial states / nations. The fact that international-led state building has not had much success in naturalising the nation, requires more acknowledgement that the realisation of the nation – as a project and discourse – cannot be a primary domain of international actors. It is the national actors who ought to stir that course and claim responsibility therefor.
  • Florian KÜHN (Humboldt U.): Ambiguity and Peace - Understanding Conflict Dynamics Through Poly-valence Analysis.
    • Is a soldier in Afghanistan a conqueror and occupier, or a peace-keeper and warrantor of stability? Beyond the 'eyes of the beholder' answer, the ambiguity of truths - valid and guiding political action for different actor groups - is key to understanding conflict dynamics. Instead of defining which 'version' of international politics ought to be universally accepted, ambiguity analyses allow mapping the discursive and political space within which conflict dynamics play out, produce actors, and alliances/opposition. Taking the international intervention/invasion of Afghanistan as a starting point, this presentation shows how an ambiguity analysis can be used to develop new perspectives on conflict, peace, and violence. It is a 'work in progress' report on a book that will be published in 2018, which includes case studies on Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, and Afghanistan.

Lunch / coffee break: 1.30-2.30 (Innovation Centre café)

Panel 2 “Economic development and global space” (14:30-16:00, Amory 218, chair Catherine OWEN):

  • Jana HÖNKE (Groningen U.): Africa’s “Infrastructure Globalities”: Rethinking the Political Geographies of Economic Hubs from the Global South – introducing the INFRAGLOB project.
  • Oliver HAYAKAWA (PhD student, Exeter): The “Quandary of Made in China”: Field notes on Globalisation From Below in Palestine.

Wrap-Up (4.00-4.30, Amory 218).


ProviderCentre of Advanced International Studies

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