This dissertation is an ethnography of the emergence of peace as an object of knowledge as well as of the making of peace experts and expertise through specific political technologies in the Middle East in general and Lebanon in particular. Rather than analyse peace expertise as a professional field in terms of careers, institutions and funding, or in terms of an evaluation of its consequences for the resolution of the Lebanese conflict, the thesis attempts to trace how the aim of pacifying Lebanon is perused, at what sites, by whom and through what practices. It is a contribution to the anthropology of transnatåional processes using a post-colonial perspective, which unites two emerging fields: the science and technology studies with historical ethnographies of knowledge/expertise.
The dissertation provides rich insights into institutional processes and expert practices in the making. It seeks to understand how a framework of “crisis” comes to be put into place to analyse the conflict in the region and to propagate certain solutions to it while marginalising und delegitimizing others. So instead of the use of “crisis”, “ethnic conflict” or “state failure” as descriptive categories as in much of the scholarship on the region, the dissertation turns this kind of labelling of the problem into an object of enquiry. It asks: who terms what to be a “crisis” or Lebanon as a paradigmatic case of “state failure”? What work does such an understanding of events and processes in those terms do? And for whom? What effects does it have? Altogether, the dissertation insists on locating the peace experts as part of the field of conflict and not as objective and neutral problem-solvers situated outside the field and as external to its dynamics.