This chapter gives an overview of the burgeoning literature on knowledge-related questions in studies of international intervention and statebuilding, which have shifted the research focus to questions of authority, knowledge systems and epistemic practices. This literature highlights a growing interest in the epistemics – that is, the scientific study of knowledge – of how global political order is established, maintained, and challenged. We discuss different strands within knowledge-focused studies in three thematic sections: first, actor-centred approaches to knowledge and expertise; second, works that explore meaning-making from post-structuralist or hermeneutical traditions; and third, studies focusing on practices and infrastructures of knowledge production and diffusion. We conclude with a brief discussion of emerging relational frameworks that attempt to overcome some of the contradictions within studies of knowledge and expertise in intervention and statebuilding politics and open worthwhile future research avenues.
Berit Bliesemann de Guevara and Roland Kostić
Berit Bliesemann de Guevara and Catherine Goetze
This chapter discusses different conceptualisations of myth in peacebuilding and intervention research. It argues that myth concepts are useful to explore the powerful foundational narratives and commonly held beliefs underpinning international politics. Myths have the effect of imposing and maintaining an already dominant social order in the international system, but they also allow narratives of change to develop. Our discussion is organised into four sections and distinguishes studies which understand myths as calculated strategy or social construction, and analyses that focus on the performative effects of myths, namely their role as ideological delusion or as necessary fiction. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of the future of this strand of research in times of declining interest in liberal state- and peacebuilding interventions.