Saving civilization from empire: belligerency, pacifism and the two faces of civilization during the Second Opium War

Phillips, Andrew (2012) Saving civilization from empire: belligerency, pacifism and the two faces of civilization during the Second Opium War. European Journal of International Relations, 18 1: 5-27. doi:10.1177/1354066111416020

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Author Phillips, Andrew
Title Saving civilization from empire: belligerency, pacifism and the two faces of civilization during the Second Opium War
Journal name European Journal of International Relations   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1354-0661
1460-3713
Publication date 2012-03-01
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1354066111416020
Volume 18
Issue 1
Start page 5
End page 27
Total pages 23
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage
Language eng
Abstract Conventional accounts of international society's expansion have traditionally emphasized the role played by 'civilizing missions' in facilitating and legitimating European aggression and imperial expansion. Conversely, in this article, I demonstrate that the relationship between imperial violence and the rhetoric of 'civilizing missions' was far more contested and contingent than International Relations scholars have generally assumed. Using the parliamentary debate surrounding Britain's involvement in the Second Opium War as a case study, I reveal that civilizational rhetoric in the 1857 'China debate' was equally implicated in both anti-imperialist and imperialist agendas. Richard Cobden's victory in the debate over Palmerston's pro-war ministry further illustrates the political potency of appeals to civilization as a brake - however temporary - on Britain's imperial expansion. An appreciation of civilization's janus-faced character - as a rhetorical commonplace that at different times abetted and inhibited imperial aggression - is therefore critical if we are to comprehend the halting and arrhythmic pattern of international society's progressive expansion under British leadership in the mid-Victorian period.
Keyword China
Civilization
Empire
Historical sociology
International history
International relations
International society
War
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print: 27 October 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Created: Tue, 20 Nov 2012, 19:19:01 EST by Elmari Louise Whyte on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies