Peacekeeping and Critical Theory

TitlePeacekeeping and Critical Theory
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsPugh, Michael
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Volume11
Issue1
Pagination39–58
Abstract

A deconstruction of the role of peace support operations suggests that they sustain a particular order of world politics that privileges the rich and powerful states in their efforts to control or isolate unruly parts of the world. As a management device it has grown in significance as the strategic imperatives of the post-industrialized, capitalist world have neutered the universal pretensions of the United Nations. Drawing on the work of Robert Cox and Mark Duffield, this essay adopts a critical theory perspective to argue that peace support operations serve a narrow, problem-solving purpose—to doctor the dysfunctions of the global political economy within a framework of liberal imperialism. Two dynamics in world politics might be exploited to mobilize a counter-hegemonic transformation in global governance. First, a radical change in the global trade system and its problematic institutions will create opportunities to emancipate the weak from economic hegemony. Second, future network wars are likely to require increasingly subtle and flexible teams, similar to disaster relief experts, to supply preventive action, economic aid and civilian protection. This might only be achieved by releasing peace support operations from the state-centric control system, and making them answerable to more transparent, more democratic and accountable multinational institutions.

URLhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1353331042000228445
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