This article discusses the links between military knowledge production and the cultural representations of war based on the Israeli experience during the past two decades. It argues that the locus of military knowledge production has moved from what can be described as 'forging knowledge' to 'deciphering knowledge'. This transition is linked to a crisis in the classic representation of war, which is based on the congruence between three binary signifiers: enemy, arena, and violence. The article asserts that the blurring of these three signifiers has created a Bourdieuian field of military knowledge production in which symbolic capital is obtained from the production of knowledge that deciphers the new uncertainty. The article follows the relations between the binaries and the types of knowledge that have been imported and translated in the IDF with regard to four major operational settings: the Oslo redeployment, the Second Intifada, the disengagement from Gaza, and the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War.
From 'Forging' to 'Deciphering'
Zeev Lerer and Sarit Amram-Katz
The Absent Concept of Policing and Its Substitutes in Israeli Military Doctrine
‘winning hearts and minds’ ( Henriksen 2012 ). The new policing protocols relied on deeper military knowledge about the population and its culture ( Modarelli 2008 ), training in law enforcement, the use of non-lethal means, and contacts with local leaders