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 21: The temporal dimension in the study of interventions

Róisín Read and Roger Mac Ginty

Abstract

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.

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