The Bilkent University Seminar Series – Polity, Society and the World – cordially invites you to the talk by Prof. Robert A. Rubinstein (Syracuse University) “Ethnography and Intervention in Complex Emergencies: Tensions between Local and Organizational Cultures”. The talk will take place on March 14, 2016 (Monday) at 15:40 in A-130 (FEASS).
The ethnography of multilateral interventions originated in the mid-1980s. The focus of this research has moved from examining the internal dynamics of particular United Nations peacekeeping missions to broader and more critical considerations of international interventions more generally. This paper discusses the origins, development, and fruits of this research area. It presents an account of the shifting sources of and multiple types of legitimacy which are necessary but not sufficient for interventions to succeed. Synthesizing a range of ethnographic results, the paper shows that the conditions for legitimacy for interventions, and thus for their effective action, are emergent aspects of the interaction among and between intervention actors and local communities. It shows that especially in the context of responses to complex emergencies the greatest challenge to the intervention leg impact and effective action are tensions between organizational and local cultures, and explores the reasons for the persistence of those tensions.
Robert A. Rubinstein is a Professor of Anthropology and International Relations at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in the United States. His work focuses on political and medical anthropology, social science history, and research methods, particularly with respect to understanding humanitarian/military interactions in complex emergencies and the relationship between conflict and health disparities.
Supported by grants from twenty foundations and agencies (including the United Nations) to conduct research in Egypt, Belize, Mexico, and the United States, Prof. Rubinstein’s work has led to over 100 journal articles and books, including Science as Cognitive Process: Towards an Empirical Philosophy of Science (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), Doing Fieldwork: The Correspondence of Robert Redfield and Sol Tax (Transaction, 2001), Peacekeeping Under Fire: Culture and Intervention (Paradigm, 2008), and Dangerous Liaisons: Anthropologists and the National Security State (SAR Press, 2011).
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