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Countering the Narrative on International Interventions: Paternalism as a Constant of British Interventionary Discourse and Practice from the 19th Century Onwards

Nicolaou, Claire (2018) Countering the Narrative on International Interventions: Paternalism as a Constant of British Interventionary Discourse and Practice from the 19th Century Onwards. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Contemporary international relations scholars view Western interventionary practices as having undergone deep transformations since the nineteenth century, from colonial interventions, to humanitarian interventions, to contemporary interventions under the “responsibility to protect” paradigm. This thesis offers a counter-argument based on an in-depth comparative historical examination of the evolution of British interventionary practices from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Grounded in the analysis of the interconnections between practices, representations, and discourses as embodied in British interventions from the colonial to the contemporary era, the thesis demonstrates that paternalism is a constant of British interventionism, regardless of the transformations in the ideological and normative frameworks governing the international system throughout that history. The thesis does so by looking at the interventionary practice and discourse of Britain in the following four historical periods: nineteenth century Imperialism, the Mandate period, the Cold and Post-Cold War, and the Twenty-first century. In each period, specific cases of intervention addressed by the existing empirical literature are examined in depth, on the basis of a comprehensive definition of paternalism that takes into account the interconnections among discourse, representation, and practice. The objective of each empirical chapter is to identify the manner in which British paternalism manifests itself in each case and to present what is characteristic of British paternalism in each period. Then by comparing the manner in which British paternalism manifests itself across the historical periods examined the thesis demonstrates the factor of continuity in British interventionary practices from the 19th century onwards. Two further conclusions are made in the process. First, the paternalism deployed by Britain since the colonial era is grounded in a longer socio-ideological history of domestic paternalism within the English social order, which was first exported to England’s closest neighbors. Second, the current “responsibility to protect” paradigm supposedly based on a universalist humanitarianism manifests an alignment of international interventionism with the same form of paternalism that has characterized British interventionism since the colonial era.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Claire Nicolaou
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2018 09:26
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2018 09:26
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21543

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