Published on February 16, 2014
Discourses, representations, organisations – discursive policy-making and the rise and rise of liberal peacebuilding Tobias Denskus ComDev CCMA seminar, Malmö, 7-8 February 2014
„Watch this short, satirical film, written by Oren Ginzburg and narrated by actor and comedian David Mitchell, which tells the story of how tribal peoples are being destroyed in the name of “development”‟. http://www.survivalinternational.org/thereyougo
Professionalization & Institutionalization The backbones of development discourses Discursive policy-making & implementation cycle – The rise and rise of liberal peacebuilding Conference chairs & peacebuilding in Nepal From the inside of the Radisson Hotel to the front page of a „bottom-up‟ peace report
„The concept of professionalization refers to a set of techniques and disciplinary practices through which the generation, diffusion, and validation of knowledge are organized, managed, and controlled; in other words, the process by which a politics of truth is created and maintained‟. (Escobar 1989)
„(Institutionalization) refers to the establishment of an institutional field in which, and from which, discourses and techniques are produced, recorded, stabilized, modified, and put into operation. (…) The knowledge of development is utilized by these institutions through applied programs, conferences, expert meetings, consultancies, and so on. By using certain forms of knowledge and producing specific forms of intervention, these institutions constitute a network that organizes visibilities and makes the exercise of power possible‟ (Escobar 1989).
Phase I: Enthusiasm (1990-1992) Post-cold war, end of history, democratic peace Phase II: Stock-taking (1992-1994) „Trickle-down‟ of concept into large donors organizations, but also INGOs Perceived lack of expertise and instruments („Rwanda shock‟) Phase III: Capacity-building (1994-1996) Demand for external advice increases Calls for „best practices‟ and „products‟
Phase IV: Professionalization (1996-1998; but repeated as necessary) Toolkits, Training, Academia „wakes up‟ Phase V: Mainstreaming (1998-2002) Government policy, „cross-cutting theme‟ (see also „gender‟ and „participation‟), disgruntled field staff over new reporting rules Phase VI: Rituals & routines (2002-2006) Conferences on „the future of…‟; new MA graduates
Phase VII: Malaise (but also getting reading for new „Phase I‟ again) (2006-today) Liberal peacebuilding partially (un)successful UN Peacebuilding Commission „Responsibility to Protect‟ BRICSs and „norm diffusion‟ New (social) media, ICT & peacebuilding
Spaces, power & the body The body is a political field: “Power relations have an immediate hold upon it; they invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, to emit signs.” The body is the most basic and fundamental level of power relations, the “microphysics” of the micropolitics of power. Ritualization is a central way that power operates; it constitutes a political technology of the body. (Bell 1992)
In summary Development discourses work in/through/with different spaces, artefacts, rituals and structures Policy-discourses are cyclical and need to be interpreted with historical understandings of „development‟ We need to self-reflexive and reflective about our own positionality in discourses
References Bell, Catherine M. "Ritual theory, ritual practice." Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Denskus, Tobias: “Performing Peace-building: Conferences, Rituals and the Role of Ethnographic Research”. IDS Bulletin, 45.2 (2014) (forthcoming, March) Escobar, Arturo. “The Professionalization and Institutionalization of 'Development' in Colombia in the early Post-World War II Period”. International Journal of Educational Development 9.2 (1989): 139-154.
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