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The uncritical critique of 'liberal peace'

Chandler, David C. (2010) The uncritical critique of 'liberal peace'. Review of International Studies, 36 (S1). pp. 137-155. ISSN 0260-2105

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0260210510000823

Abstract

For many commentators the lack of success in international statebuilding efforts has been explained through the critical discourse of ‘liberal peace’, where it is assumed that ‘liberal’ Western interests and assumptions have influenced policymaking leading to counterproductive results. At the core of the critique is the assumption that the liberal peace approach has sought to reproduce and impose Western models: the reconstruction of ‘Westphalian’ frameworks of state sovereignty; the liberal framework of individual rights and winner-takes-all elections; and neo-liberal free market economic programmes. This article challenges this view of Western policymaking and suggests that post-Cold War post-conflict intervention and statebuilding can be better understood as a critique of classical liberal assumptions about the autonomous subject – framed in terms of sovereignty, law, democracy and the market. The conflating of discursive forms with their former liberal content creates the danger that critiques of liberal peace can rewrite post-Cold War intervention in ways that exaggerate the liberal nature of the policy frameworks and act as apologia, excusing policy failure on the basis of the self-flattering view of Western policy elites: that non-Western subjects were not ready for ‘Western’ freedoms.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:8235
Deposited On:06 Jul 2010 16:26
Last Modified:11 Jul 2011 14:33

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