Conflicts in the EU Neighbourhood and the Practices of Knowledge Production in Projects-based Approach

Michal Natorski

Conflict management and peacebuilding activities of International Organizations, national agencies and NGOs are more and more dominated by a technocratic project-based approach. Within this framework knowledge is produced at the intersection of institutional environments by diplomats, bureaucrats, activists, experts and academics. The constant process of knowledge production in such settings can also lead to learning and eventually affect institutional frameworks. Therefore, this paper conceptualizes how specific type of knowledge about conflicts produced within project-based approach can influence an overall policy approach to conflict management and peacebuilding.This paper inquires into the main patterns of knowledge production practices in the framework of the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) of the EU. Since 2007 this financial instrument of EU external action following a project-based approach channels the bulk of EU's engagement in crisis and conflict response as well as in tackling structural sources of security risk and threats throughout the world. The paper scrutinizes how this project-based activities structure the EU practices of collection, translation and exploitation of information about conflicts. I focus on the relations between the explicit knowledge represented in terms of policy "facts" and tacit knowledge driving social practices of crisis and conflict management. To this aim, I illustrate my argument with the current engagement of the EU through the IfS in the crises in Ukraine and Libya. I link these findings on the epistemic practices about conflict with the evolution of EU approaches to conflict management and peacebuilding.

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