Social Reconstruction and the Radicalization of Development: Aid as a Relation of Global Liberal Governance

MR Duffield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

That democratic societies do not fall into conflict has become an axiom of contemporary international relations. Liberal societies, however, do not properly exist along the troubled margins of the global order. This absence has lent urgency to present efforts at social reconstruction. Whereas a couple of decades ago the principle of non-interference prevailed, this unfinished business has shaped a new will to intervene and transform societies as a whole. This article critically analyses the international will to govern through three interconnected themes. First, it examines accepted views on the nature of the new wars. These representations usually portray conflict as a form of social regression stemming from the failure of modernity. As such, they provide a moral justification for intervention. Second, an alternative view of the new wars - as a form of resistant and reflexive modernity - is developed. Made possible by the opportunities created by globalization, this resistance assumes the organizational form of network war. The essay concludes with an examination of the encounter between the international will to govern and the resistance of reflexive modernity. This encounter is the site of the post-Cold War reuniting of aid and politics. One important consequence has been the radicalization of development and its reinvention as a strategic tool of conflict resolution and social reconstruction. The use of aid as a tool of global liberal governance is fraught with difficulty; not least, the equivocal and contested nature of its influence. Rather than reconsideration, however, policy failure tends to result in a fresh round of reinvention and reform. The increasing normalization of violence is but one effect.
Translated title of the contributionSocial Reconstruction and the Radicalization of Development: Aid as a Relation of Global Liberal Governance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049 - 1071
Number of pages22
JournalDevelopment and Change
Volume33 (5)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Blackwell

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