This chapter explores the key concepts that are used in explorations of political transitions and regime change. It is a guide for how to “read” transitions and points to biases in the conventional literature on the topic. It discusses key themes that are the focus of the case studies of this book, such as the permanency (or otherwise) of change, the extent to which transitions are truly transformational, how transitions may spark other forms of division, gender, the political economy of transitions, and the aftermath of transitions. The chapter encourages us to be prudent in interpreting the extent of change, especially in terms of how it impacts on the everyday lives of citizens.
Roger Mac Ginty
Róisín Read and Roger Mac Ginty
This chapter interrogates at the issue time and international intervention. Specifically, it makes the case that time is an imaginary that is socially constructed by actors with the power to do so. The chapter considers the construction and framing of 'crises' and how the framing of urgency and necessity is often used to justify intervention and the role of intervening parties. Just as empowered actors can designate what constitutes a crisis, they also seek to identify suitable timeframes for an exit from the intervention site. The chapter is sceptical of the notion of exit, however, and argues that the complex nature of international intervention, and its socio-economic and political implications for both the intervener and the intervened, means that there can be no definitive terminal moment of exit.