From Social Movement to Ritualized Conference Spaces: The Evolution of Peace Research Professionalism in Germany is the title of ComDev’s Tobias Denskus‘ latest research article just published in the journal Peace & Change:
The article employs anthropological ritual theory and the concepts of symbolism and liminality to provide a theoretical framework for analyzing ethnographic insights into the academic peace research community in Germany. Using secondary sources for a broader historical outline, I analyze the evolution of peace research discourses in Germany from the beginnings as a new social movement to a contemporary professionalized policy space in which knowledge discourses are (re)produced. Academic conferences and the routines around presenting theoretical papers have become institutionalized by the ritual dynamics of a small group of organizers and venues, fostering “indoor rituals” that represent transformations of the activities of the “outdoor” peace movement that was active in postwar Germany for many decades.
In a blog post with further links, including to an un-gated version of his paper, he adds:
I think it is important to engage with community practices and changing forms of professionalism over time. This allows for important nuances beyond twitter-able claims to add simply more women or enhance diversity at conferences in other ways. These are important steps, but in this day and age of the ‘metricized’ neoliberal university we need to ask tougher questions about how to build and maintain social movements and inspiring communities inside and outside academia.