Global Violence: Local Conflicts and Competition for Attention and Legitimacy

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC35 Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (host committee)

Language: English

The ideal of non-violence has been institutionalized in world politics since the mid-19th century. However, this obviously has not led to the disappearance of violence in conflicts around the world. The gap between the ideal and reality of violence is usually discussed in terms of deviance. This session aims to explore it as a world societal constellation in its own right, based on the observation that the establishment of non-violence as a global institution, rather than reducing violence, has changed the conditions for the production of violent conflicts by changing how conflicts are observed: On the one hand, it allows de-legitimizing (criticizing, scandalizing) any kind of violence; on the other hand, it also encourages the deliberate use of violence in order to draw global attention to a conflict party’s cause. Crucial to this process are international organizations and similar observers who, by publicly objecting violence in the name of humanity, make violence particularly likely to attract the attention of the so-called world public opinion. The session invites papers which discuss conceptual and empirical aspects of this complex interplay between local conflicts and global competition for attention and legitimacy, dealing with questions like: How do professional observers, e.g. NGOs, journalists or social scientists, draw attention to violent conflicts around the world? How do they criticize and scandalize the behavior of conflict parties? And how do conflict parties observe and react to these observations? How do they “game” the global attention drawn to the conflict by third parties?
Session Organizers:
Tobias WERRON, Bielefeld University, Germany and Teresa KOLOMA BECK, Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany
Alejandro BIALAKOWSKY, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Oral Presentations
Violent Conflictition. Armed Conflicts and Global Competition for Attention and Legitimacy
Teresa KOLOMA BECK, Bundeswehr University Munich, Germany; Tobias WERRON, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Bearing Witness: Practices of Witnessing in Geopolitically Marginal Conflicts
Richard STUPART, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Observing Sexual Violence: Strategies of De-Legitimizing the Cologne Sexual Assaults
Laura WOLTERS, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, Germany