Amitav Ghosh: Notes towards an ethnography of International Peacekeeping

“Of the many dramatic consequences of the end of the Cold War, few have been as notable as the sudden expansion in the international role of the United Nations. Consider, for example, that the UN has embarked on almost as many peacekeeping operations in the four years that have passed since 1989, as it did in the four decades that precede it. The prospects are that in the next few years its peacekeeping activities will expand faster still. In a sense, the very fact of the UN’s interventionism is a guarantee of this, for it provides an incentive for conflicts to be taken to the point where intercession becomes inevitable. It is no coincidence that the majority of UN’s peacekeeping operations to date have been in places that fall within anthropology’s traditional domains – Asia, Africa and Central America – and there can be little doubt that it is those very areas that will provide most of the locations for the UN missions of the future. In many of these paces, peacekeeping operations will inevitably become harbingers of the future, not merely because of their immediate impact on the ebb and flow of politics, but also because they will serve as a political model, as a patter of order and governance.”


This entry was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
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