Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Other Side

One of my docents told me that he had been invited by the Army to present his view about the conflict in Mali. Suddenly, he moved from being an outsider to an insider. The question is not only about  being critical but also about being strategical and at the same time, to conserve the idealism. He mentioned that there were many consultancies that were already involved in giving advice for the Ministry but most of them did not know the real situation. So Ferguson (1990) and Mosse (2004) all over again. Wrong approach because of wrong assumptions and consultancy agency talked in the language of the clients (on efficiency in military operation) and not about the real situation in Mali. Different epistemic tradition, where he had to talk to man in uniform with different openness and also a shift in strategy from critical to strategic. 

The discussion related with our earlier discussion about identity and struggle. Identity is always being contested in different situations. There is evil in good things and there is good things in evil. As one of my favorites proverb says 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' Being an insider creates an opportunity for greater change but probably it may also change one into a different person via all the negotiations and bureaucratic details. 

3 comments:

Ositus.com said...

yes we know about that

kutukamus said...

Hi Yuti. I like the way you keep some distance to the topic here (i.e. about 'sides'), maintaining your objectivity. Yet, some details fail me:
1. Is your docent a Malian?
2. Army/Ministry? Who[se]? The Malian?


But most of all, I don't quite understand what you mean by the term 'insider' here, in this context. I mean, if that docent of yours is, say, a Dutchman, then being part of the 'think tank' doesn't make him a Malian (the way I see it, we can still consider him as an 'outsider'—a foreigner, who just happens to be favored by one of the conflicting parties). Just curious. :)

Yuti Ariani said...

Hi kutukamus, thanks for your interesting questions. I guess I am a bit bias since I have the tendency to stand on the local people side and not on the military side. I did not write the nationality of my docent for privacy issues. We talked casually about sensitive issues so I did not want to put him into trouble.