Peace and Experts: Knowledge and the Politics of Peacemaking in the Middle East

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2019-02-11
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This edited volume proposes a new conceptual framework for the analysis of expert knowledge in peacemaking, as well as providing policy-relevant analysis of the Middle East peace process. 'Peace in the Middle East' is today a widespread institutionalized discourse with distinct historical roots, specific practices and constructed meanings. However, despite or perhaps because of the popularity of the discourse, it is rarely the object of social-scientific research. Theoretical and empirical investigations from an anthropological perspective of the role of the distinct array of social actors and institutions committed to peacemaking are almost non-existent. This book project addresses this gap, presenting ethnographic and historical accounts of the diverse institutions and actors that act in the name of peacemaking/peacekeeping in the Arab world (UN, NGOs, diplomats, think tanks, consultants, mediators). It analyses the ways in which peace experts produce knowledge, undertake advocacy, secure legitimacy, and address problems and constituencies, as well as delineating the interactions and entanglements of these experts with other professionals in adjacent fields (development, media, state politics, bureaucracy, local community authorities). The volume argues for a new perception of the question of peace in the Middle East that regards peacemaking not through the lens of moral imperatives and normative notions, but primarily as a field of power, expert authority and struggles for hegemony. It argues that expert backgrounds as well as legitimacy struggles among different types of expertise play a significant role in the ways that certain problems, such as socio-political violence, war and conflict, are defined, addressed and acted upon. As such, the book advocates a theoretical re-orientation of the debates on peacemaking in relation to expert knowledge of the field. Finally, the book envisions the possibility of spurring a broader debate on the issues raised within the societies as well as the professional fields addressed. This book will be of much interest to students of peacebuilding/peacemaking, Middle Eastern politics, peace and conflict studies, sociology and IR in general.

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