Producing Spoilers by Joyce Dalsheim Book Summary:
What do supporters of Hamas and radical religious Israeli settlers have to do with the international peace process, other than providing an excuse for its failure? High-level diplomatic negotiators and grassroots peace activists blame religious extremists for acting as spoilers of rational negotiation, and have often attempted to neutralize, co-opt, or marginalize them. In Producing Spoilers Joyce Dalsheim explores the problem of stalled peacemaking by looking at spoilers" not as the cause, but as a symptom of systemic malfunctions within the concept of the nation state itself, and the secular constructs of historicism that support it. Spoilers are generated as internal enemies in the course of conflict, and used as an explanation of why processes of peace and reconciliation fail. In other words, she argues, peacemaking efforts can work to produce enmity. Dalsheim is primarily concerned with the case of Israel/Palestine, and how groups considered radical religionists aremarginalized as spoilers of peace and thus removed from the mainstream moral collective of peace seekers. Dalsheim considers the ways in which processes of conflict resolution, diplomacy, dialogue, educating for peace as well as social theorizing about liberation, peace, and social justice actually participate in constructing enemies which ultimately limit the options for peaceful outcomes. She examines the work of top-level peacemakers (politicians and diplomats) as well as scholars and grass-roots level peacemakers, and draws on her own research in Israel/Palestine and her experience as a grass-roots level peacemaker there. She considers a number of taken-for-granted ways of thinking that are related to the process of producing spoilers - for example, the constraints of the narrative form and how narratives and storytelling are employed (or deployed) in peacemaking. The idea of anachronism, she shows - who or what belongs to the past - prevents even some of the most progressive theorists and activists from seeing potentially creative options for peaceful coexistence. Dalsheim also looks at the limits of territorial solutions and the limited imaginings of territorial nationalism, the context in which spoilers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are produced, in comparison to current theorizing on flexible citizenship and diasporic identity. The book concludes with an examination of how peacemaking can be seen as a means of implementing a secular neoliberal agenda."