The concept of intervention

Reus-Smit, Christian (2013) The concept of intervention. Review of International Studies, 39 5: 1057-1076. doi:10.1017/S0260210513000296

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Author Reus-Smit, Christian
Title The concept of intervention
Journal name Review of International Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0260-2105
Publication date 2013-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0260210513000296
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 39
Issue 5
Start page 1057
End page 1076
Total pages 20
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Since the end of the Cold War, the number of books and articles on intervention in world politics has grown dramatically. Yet curiously little of this work subjects the concept of intervention itself to critical scrutiny. Scholars often preface their analyses with definitional discussions about what intervention is, but these definitions take a common form, conceiving intervention within a ‘sovereignty frame’. This article questions this conception of intervention, arguing that it distorts our understanding of interventionary practices and forms of reasoning that occurred in non-sovereign international orders. After exploring the sovereignty framing of intervention in greater detail, I advance an alternative conception. International orders are systemic configurations of political authority: they comprise multiple units of such authority, each with its own realm of jurisdiction, organised according to some principle of differentiation. Importantly, this principle need not be territorial: it could be functional, for example. International intervention is the transgression of a unit's realm of jurisdiction, conducted by other units in the system. Unlike the sovereign framing of intervention, this conception is equally applicable to the interventionary ideas and practices of diverse international orders, and provides a better basis on which to understand how thinkers in different historical contexts have reasoned about intervention.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 14 Nov 2013, 22:25:54 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies