Conference Title: ‘Beyond the Ivory Tower: IR and the Real World’
Panel Title: ‘IR’s Deep Impact: Ethnic Conflict Research and Policy Making/Formulation’
Panel Organizer: Hannes Artens – Lecturer in War and Security Studies, University of Hull
This panel seeks to investigate and critically examine the role of academic researchers of ethnic conflict as protagonists in conflict dynamics, and consequently the impact this has on policy making and formulation. In line with the overall conference theme, particular emphasis will be given to situating the discipline of IR, and its epistemological underpinnings in the context of ethnic conflict research and analysis as well as to probe intersections between academia and political praxis.
Although IR as a discipline has been a latecomer to the study of identity politics, with other disciplines leading in critical research on ethnicity, ethno-nationalism, and ethnic conflict, the expertise of IR scholars carries considerable weight among practitioners. This is explicit in a U.S. context where the exchange between academia and policy making is more pronounced than in Europe; however recent developments in Britain have echoed these tendencies. IR, due to its dominance in explaining issues of war and peace in the international arena, is often a first point of reference for policy makers, governmental officials, political think tanks, and the military in addressing their strategies for a specific ethnic conflict or the phenomenon at large. How IR categorizes and understands ethnic conflict thus matters beyond the ivory tower. One could argue that IR more than any other discipline is prone to what Rogers Brubaker calls ‘groupism’. Yet it matters perhaps even more how IR addresses the possible transformation or resolution of ethnic conflicts. Here the debate reaches from critics and proponents of consociationalism to proposing ‘ethnic solutions’ to ethnic conflicts a la Chaim Kaufmann, adopted, among other examples, for Bosnia and in the Biden Plan for Iraq.
By critically questioning our own epistemologies and ontologies in this nexus, and by investigating the linkage between IR research on ethnic conflict and policy making/formulation this panel seeks to bring to attention the knowledge production and ethics of researchers beyond the confines of academia. Contributions covering either specific case studies or theory driven analyses addressing IR’s role in the study of ethnic conflict and its impact on policy making/formulation, are welcomed from any disciplinary perspective.
Please send proposals for contributions, (consisting of paper title, a maximum 200 word abstract, affiliation and contact details), to Hannes Artens, H.Artens@Hull.ac.uk