Accepted paper:

Purifying "Hezbollah": the entanglement of diverse forms of expert knoweldge on "terrorism" in Lebanon

Author:

Nikolas Kosmatopoulos (American University of Beirut)

Paper short abstract:

An ethnographic analysis of the making of the field of expert knowledge production about "Hezbollah" in Lebanon shall demonstrate how the entanglements and modalities inherent in the field on a local level have acute implications on its final output on a more global scale, where think tanks, intelligence services and individual experts strive to "purify the hybrids".

Paper long abstract:

Whereas the increasing militarization of academic knowledge on "terrorism" has heavily contributed to the apotheosis of eurocentric superficiality (different versions of "clash of civilizations" thesis), a similar partisanship seems often to drive traditional institutions attributed with the task of producing knowledge about the "Other" (e.g. mainstream think tanks and intelligence services) into a cul-de-sac of mirrored, hence distorted images. Arguably demonisation has a certain backlash effect by putting several black boxes into place. Moreover, the appearance of new forms of entanglement of different kinds of expert knowledge (diplomatic, military, academic, intelligence) draws a quite complex and intriguing matrix of actors and institutions competing or cooperating for resolving these new enigmas. Often their claimed expertise is premised upon a certain degree of proximity to the "Other", which has a delegitimizing effect upon their own credibility in their respective audiences. An ethnographic analysis of the making of the field of expert knowledge production about "Hezbollah" in Lebanon shall demonstrate how the entanglements and modalities inherent in the field on a local level have acute implications on its final output on a more global scale, where think tanks, intelligence services and individual experts strive to "purify the hybrids" (Latour).

panel W026
Imagining and constructing "terrorism" and "war on terror"