Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding
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Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding

Edited by Nicolas Lemay-Hébert

This innovative Handbook offers a new perspective on the cutting-edge conceptual advances that have shaped – and continue to shape – the field of intervention and statebuilding.
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Chapter 2: Intervention and statebuilding beyond the human

David Chandler


This chapter analyses intervention and statebuilding as shifting towards a posthuman discursive regime of acceptance and affirmation. It seeks to explore how the shift to ‘bottom-up’ or ‘post-liberal’ approaches of the 2000s has evolved into a focus upon epistemological barriers to intervention and an appreciation of complexity. It attempts to describe a process of reflection upon intervention as a policy practice, whereby the need to focus on local context and relations, in order to take problems seriously, begins to further undermine confidence in the Western episteme. In other words, the ‘bottom-up’ approach, rather than resolving the crisis of policy practices of intervention, seems to have further intensified it. It is argued that the way out of this crisis seems to be found in the rejection of the aspiration to know from a position of a ‘problem-solving’ external authority and instead to learn from the opportunities opened up through the practices of intervention.

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