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 3: Knowledge, expertise and the politics of intervention and statebuilding

Berit Bliesemann de Guevara and Roland Kostić


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.

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