Critical Interventions

  • K. M. Fierke


David Campbell has argued that undertaking a critique involves “an intervention or series of interventions in established modes of thought and action.”1 The purpose of an intervention of this kind is to disturb settled practices and to explore alternatives that may have been foreclosed or suppressed. A critical ethos begins with a logic of inquiry that differs from more conventional approaches to international relations in so far as its focus is on assumptions, their historical production, their social and political effects, and the possibility of going beyond them.2


Critical Intervention Soft Power Brute Reality Social Artifact Iraqi People 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    David Campbell, National Deconstruction: Violence, Identity and Justice in Bosnia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), p. 4.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), para. 18.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Robert W. Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory,” Millennium, 10, 2 (1981), 128.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Kenneth Waltz, Theory of lnternational Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979). See, for instance: Robert Keohane, ed., Neorealism and its Critics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Richard Wyn Jones, Security, Strategy and Critical Theory (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999), p. 85.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Edward Said, Representations of the Intellectual (London: Vintage, 1994), p. 84.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Anne Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention: Human Rights and the Use of Force in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    For a discussion of this history, see: K. M. Fierke and Michael Nicholson, “Divided by a Common Language: Formal and Constructivist Approaches to Games,” Global Society, 15, 1 (2001), 7–26.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    For a more in-depth discussion of these ideas, see: K. M. Fierke, Changing Games, Changing Strategies: Critical Investigations in Security (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Orford, Reading Humanitarian Intervention, p. 31. In making this point she draws on John Berger’s work. See John Berger, About Looking (New York: Random House, 1988).Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Cynthia Enloe, The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993), p. 184.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    Robert M. Cover, “Forward: Norms and Narrative, Harvard Law Review,” 97 (1983), 54.Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    The concept has been criticized for its emphasis on the individual rather than state or societal security. See, for instance: Barry Buzan, “A Reductionist, Idealistic Notion that Adds Little Analytical Value,” Security Dialogue 35, 3 (2004).Google Scholar
  15. 33.
    Mark Duffield, Global Governance and the New Wars (London: Zed Books, 2001).Google Scholar
  16. 36.
    Benjamin Cohen, The Question of Imperialism: The Political Economy of Dominance and Dependence (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1973).Google Scholar
  17. 37.
    Lloyd Axworthy, “Introduction,” in Rob McRae and Don Hubert, eds, Human Security and the New Diplomacy: Protecting People, Promoting Peace (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), p. 9.Google Scholar
  18. 38.
    Joseph S. Nye, Jr., The Paradox of American Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 9.Google Scholar
  19. 39.
    See, for instance: Frank Furedi, The New Ideology of Imperialism (London: Junius Publications Ltd, 1994) and Noam Chomsky, The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo (London: Pluto Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  20. 40.
    Susan Bickford, The Dissonance of Democracy: Listening, Conflict and Citizenship (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  21. 41.
    Indeed, as Hannah Arendt argues, violence and power can be seen as opposites. While opposites, the two usually appear together. However, where one rules absolutely the other is absent. Hannah Arendt, “Communicative Power,” in S. Lukes, ed., Power (New York: New York University Press, 1986), pp. 64–5, 71.Google Scholar
  22. 42.
    Omer Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide and Modern Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 5.Google Scholar
  23. 44.
    John M. Heaton, Wittgenstein and Psychoanalysis (Cambridge: Icon Books, 2000), p. 54.Google Scholar
  24. 45.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958), para. 129.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© K. M. Fierke 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. M. Fierke
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Politics and International StudiesQueen’s UniversityBelfastIreland

Personalised recommendations