International Research Network

Cultures of Intervention

Teaching – Societies of Intervention

Courses given at Free University of Berlin on the Theory of Societies of Intervention
Further Material can be obtained upon request
Contact: Michael Daxner

2010/2011: Theory and Reality of Societies of Intervention
The lecture will provide an overview and a structured introduction into the field of intervention. Military interventions, often declared as humanitarian, or in the context of Human security and R2P concepts, create significant and irreversible changes in the society of the intervened. While research and political focus more often than not focus on political structures on system level, we shall draw our attention to the society affected. The main thesis is that such a society of intervention does not remain a society of the intervened (locally affected) people only, but becomes entwined with the social impact of the interveners. Every society of intervention also develops a culture of intervention that is significantly influenced by, but different from both the intervened and the interveners cultures.
Examples will be drawn from recent intervention, mainly in Kosovo and Afghanistan, with more examples from other interventions.

2010/2011: Societies of Intervention and Cultures of Intervention
The seminar can be attended also without the lecture on Societies of Intervention, though participation in both courses is recommended. The seminar is addressed to advanced students with a certain background in humanitarian interventions, R2P and other postintervention and post-conflict situations.
The seminar will deal with
- a basic theory on societies of intervention
- a specific theory on the culture of intervention
- the importance of the entanglement between interveners and intervened
- the difference between the life-world in a society of intervention and the political level
- the significance of the homeland discourse as a normative power in such societies
- exemplary application of the theory in the empirical field

2009: Peace & Conflict
Peace and Conflict are two central themes for all political fields. They are also determinants for social life. Conflict resolution and the way people live together in peace are permanent challenges not only for politics and systems, but also for every group in society, and especially for those groups actively involved in violent conflicts or the resolution of such conflicts. Students are invited to expand their knowledge and interest beyond constructivist theories and step into the practical fields, guided by some theories.
This class will discuss fundamental problems of peace and conflict by analysing concrete developments in areas of acute conflicts, interventions and post-intervention societies.
We will confront strategies and policies with some basic theories and a contemporary comprehension of “peace” and “conflict”. The Proseminar will be highly inter-active. After a few weeks of introduction and a general outlay of the field, we shall discuss topics such as
- Peacekeeping and Peace-building after military interventions (Kosovo, Afghanistan)
- R2P (responsibility to Protect) as a peacekeeping “program”
- Micro-social conditions for peace (peace-talk, communication)
- Islands of Peace in Wartime
- The applicability of some conflict-theories to concrete situations

2008/2009 Peacekeeping through Administration, Peace Building by Development: Actors in Societies of Intervention
This is an introduction into society-oriented field-work and policies in countries, where humanitarian interventions have changed the structures and powers in society. Based on examples in Kosovo and Bosnia-Hercegovina, and focused on soft sectors such as education, public administration and police, we shall discuss the reconstructive power of formal procedures, administration and the emerging civil society. The Proseminar will be a good exercise for the understanding of how GOs and NGOs can act under the concrete circumstances of short preparation and uncertain goals for reconstruction and state-building.

2008/2009: Sociology of Intervention
The seminar will introduce the specific approach on societies and cultures of intervention. The humanitarian military-supported interventions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sudan, Liberia and other parts of the world create a very significant pattern of societal change after the intervention.
We will discuss the relationship between the people who are subject and object of interventions (“the intervened”) and the diverse groups of “interveners”, with regard to
- Communication;
- Translation and interpretation of mutual values and habitus;
- Cultural interfaces and contaminations;
- Religion, conflict regulation, complements and ruptures on the life-world level;
- Possible “collusive” relationships between interveners and the intervened;
- The homeland discourse.
The approach will be based on a theory in political sociology that follows earlier research by Pierre Bourdieu (Algeria) and the recently founded German-based network on the Culture of Interventions, which focuses on the conflicts from post-intervention development.

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