Disputas: Iver Brynild Neumann

Iver Brynild Neumann ved Sosialantropologisk institutt vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden dr.philos. (doctor philosophiae): Diplomats and Diplomacy: An Anthropological View


Tid: tirsdag 8. september kl. 16.30 Sted: Auditorium 3, Eilert Sundts hus

Selvvalgt: "The anthropologist and the early state: The field, the steppe and the case of Rus' (ca. 800-1100)".
Oppgitt emne: "The analytic utility of the anthropological concepts of myth and history in the study of elite groups"



1. opponent: Professor Cris Shore, Department of Anthropology, Auckland University, New Zealand.
2. opponent: Professor emeritus Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm Universitet, Sverige.

Professor Marit Melhuus, Sosialantropologisk institutt, Universitetet i Oslo, er koordinator og komiteens tredje medlem.

Leder av disputas:  Prodekan Marianne Lien


This dissertation subjects diplomacy to the anthropological gaze first by investigating it historically as an emergent discourse and ethnographically as a lived practice. Chapter 1 introduces the concepts of discourse and practice by drawing particularly on sociologist Ann Swidler’s division of culture into discourse and practice, but also on Michel Foucault and Michel de Certeau. I formulate and defend the claim that diplomacy is a mediating culture. Chapter 2 draws on the work of cultural anthropologists Clifford Geertz and Marshall Sahlins in order to suggest a layered conceptualization of diplomatic discourse as myths, sociabilities and practices. A short historical tour d’horizon demonstrates the importance of religion and kinship to diplomacy. I demonstrate by way of example how this goes for European diplomacy as well, and discuss how Christian myths have been decentered by cultural contacts. Most diplomatic sociabilities and practices have been decisively marked by European antecedents, however. Chapter 3 introduces the field, which is the Norwegian Minisry of Foreign Affairs. Chapter 4 looks at self-presentation and argues that being a diplomat involves juggling three narratives of self held out by discourse against one another. I argue that being a diplomat is a never-ending technique of self, in the sense that the end product of diplomatic work is to let processes that are already in motion either go on or to have them stopped. Chapter 5 discusses how the practices that answer to the stories held out by diplomatic discourse vary with class and gender. Chapter 6 argues that text production integrates the Ministry by setting up the work so that every subsection of the Ministry is allowed a say, and by short-circuiting outside attempts to access the practice for other purposes. The conclusion reflects on the utility of drawing on the chosen categories of discourse and practice, how certain other spheres are now “diplomatified” and on how the production of the thesis was marked by being part of my own transition form writing as a political scientist to writing as a social anthropologist.

Publisert 21. aug. 2009 10:44 - Sist endret 4. feb. 2014 09:15