In this article, I examine through ethnography one of the flagship techniques of the peace expertise in the Middle East and elsewhere, the so-called conflict resolution workshop. Faced with the widely recognized fact that the workshop in conflict resolution has become the dominant means of peace NGOs and others in their attempts to address the past and the future of peace in almost every postconflict setting around the world today, the technique seems ripe for sustained critical inquiry. Indeed, for the transnational and hypermobile clan of peacemakers and peace experts, the workshop constitutes maybe the absolute travel device: it can be transported and deployed everywhere without the need for translation into local vernaculars; it can exemplify the moral ambition for peace in the world backed with technical arrangements of space, time, and learning mostly imported from other disciplinary settings; it can address sustained needs for knowledge and hopes for personal betterment by introducing a unique style of pedagogy based on both academic credentials and moral superiority.
The Birth of the Workshop: Technomorals, Peace Expertise, and the Care of the Self in the Middle East
Nikolas Kosmatopoulos is a cultural anthropologist. Currently postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia Global Centers | Europe (Paris), he teaches at Sciences Po and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. This article is part of a book project titled “Master Peace: Governing Violence in Postwar Lebanon.”
Nikolas Kosmatopoulos; The Birth of the Workshop: Technomorals, Peace Expertise, and the Care of the Self in the Middle East. Public Culture 1 September 2014; 26 (3 (74)): 529–558. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-2683657
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