07.10, 09:30–11:00 (Europe/Berlin), Westasien
In this panel, we are going to discuss how universities are both producing and reproducing vulnerabilities resulting from cultural and epistemic violence and a modern/colonial system, respectively, from a conflict transformation perspective, thereby referring to a set of case studies.
Panelists: Victoria Fontan, American University of Afghanistan (TBD); Adham Hamed, Austrian Center for Peace; Mamusu Kallon (TBD); Juliana Krohn, University of Innsbruck
Moderator: Viktorija Ratković, University of Klagenfurt
Various forms of power abuse and ethical misconduct appear in hierarchically organized institutions across society. Thus, vulnerability is often already inscribed into those subjects with the least power in their respective institutional frame. Those most vulnerable are most likely to be subject to what peace researcher Johan Galtung described as cultural, structural, and direct violence (Galtung 1990). Recent journalistic, political, and societal debates about ethical misconduct in institutions, driven for example by the #MeToo movement, provide examples for that. Universities as sites of power asymmetries and hierarchical structures have increasingly moved into the spotlight of public debate. In this context, universities exemplifying cultural violence can justify or reinforce structural violence which in turn can further direct violence.
While there seems to be a shift in awareness in public discourse, however, there still appears to be considerable rigidity when it comes to addressing ethical misconduct within institutions like the university. This is also the case when power abuse happens in the context of peace studies – a discipline that theoretically should be able to address it differently. Hence, while these institutions may opt for certain measures of organizational change they often systematically shy away from any form of public positioning towards issues raised. Moreover, universities tend to fail to prevent abuse altogether, react with inadequate responses or try to cover the abuse up – strategies that can be summarized under the term institutional betrayal (Smith and Freyd 2014). Institutional betrayal has far-reaching consequences for those affected in particular, but also when it comes to addressing, negotiating, and responding to violence and vulnerability in institutions.
In this panel, we are going to discuss how universities are both producing and reproducing vulnerabilities resulting from cultural and epistemic violence and a modern/colonial system, respectively, from a conflict transformation perspective, thereby referring to a set of case studies. Addressing these issues also calls for asking whether the above-mentioned forms of violence and ensuing vulnerabilities need to be considered as results of the modern/colonial university with its inherent epistemic violence, thus demanding visions and options for transformation like a decolonisation of the university (Bhambra, Gebrial, Nişancıoğlu 2018).
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