The doctrine of the 'responsibility to protect' as a practice of political exceptionalism

Cunliffe, Philip (2016) The doctrine of the 'responsibility to protect' as a practice of political exceptionalism. European Journal of International Relations, . ISSN 1354-0661. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066116654956) (Full text available)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354066116654956

Abstract

The consensus on the doctrine of the ‘responsibility to protect’ has replaced ideas of humanitarian intervention with a new vision of the responsibilities that states have to protect their peoples from the most egregious suffering. The contention of this article is that this is a politics of exceptionalism, whereby power is legitimated by reference to its effectiveness in responding to emergency or crisis. By analysing the doctrine in this way, new light is shed on the debate surrounding the responsibility to protect. First, understanding the doctrine in terms of exceptionalism helps explain the paradox of how the doctrine has been assimilated so readily into institutional and state practice without manifesting any greater commitment to international intervention. Second, understanding these new security practices in terms of exceptionalism allows us to move beyond questions of imperialism. Once understood in terms of exceptionalism, it can be shown that the stakes in the debate on the responsibility to protect are restricted not only to relations between states, but also to relations within them: principles of representative government are to be substituted with paternalist and authoritarian visions of state power.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations > Conflict Analysis Research Centre
Depositing User: Philip Cunliffe
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 15:58 UTC
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2017 15:13 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55842 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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