His talk will be based on the following summary:

“Diplomacy is commonly understood as a political activity. Diplomats, however, carefully distinguish between political and technical aspects of their work. In the paper, I explore this distinction through a detailed study of how Kosovo’s foreign service was built up after the country declared independence in February 2008.

Drawing on in-depth interviews, participant observation, and a detailed analysis of documents, I trace how Kosovo’s first diplomats and the international consultants supporting them struggled to create a politically neutral, rational, and meritocratic diplomatic bureaucracy. They were acutely aware that to produce the “state effect” of self-evident international subjectivity, Kosovo’s diplomatic representations needed to be partly detached from the daily struggles of domestic politics and entrusted to a bureaucratic elite.

The architects of Kosovo’s diplomacy were, however, also confronted with obstacles to realising this ideal such as a severe lack of know-how and resources and a political context in which positions in the civil service are commonly assigned by a logic of patronage. In studying politics as a practical category whose boundaries are drawn and redrawn in practice, this paper contributes to a growing literature on political work, political expertise, and political elites.”

Tobias Wille is a Research Associate in the working group “International Organisations” at Goethe University Frankfurt. He studied political science, philosophy and economics at Yale University and Ludwig Maximilian University Munich as well as International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received a PhD in political science from Goethe University Frankfurt in 2017.

His research interests are International Relations theory, international political sociology, interpretive methods; diplomacy, war, and global governance.

Chair is Research Director at NUPI, Ole Jacob Sending.