Exercising Peace : Conflict Preventionism, Neoliberalism, and the New Military

University dissertation from Stockholm : Socialantropologiska institutionen

Abstract: This study takes the changing role of the military as a starting point for exploring a set of broader ongoing processes at the intersection of security and humanitarianism. The focus is on one particular assemblage, described here as conflict preventionism. This notion brings together the transformation of the military, the proliferation of civil-military cooperation, and the increasing interest in managing and preventing violent conflicts within a single framework. As such, conflict preventionism helps render visible how various actors, concepts, and organizational techniques converge in emergent forms of intervention.The research was carried out during the planning, execution, and evaluation of Viking 03, a civil-military exercise organized in 2003 by the Swedish Armed Forces. An examination of Viking 03 evinces intriguing resemblances between conflict preventionism and organizational facets of neoliberalism, epitomized by increasingly ubiquitous concepts such as “partnership,” “transparency,” and “evaluation.” Also, it shows that conflict preventionism does not settle on one particular understanding of conflict, but rather imposes directionality on contemporary engagements with the world.

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