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Conflict and communication : critical theory, international relations and the intervention in Kosovo

By Naomi Claire Head

Abstract

This thesis examines contemporary developments in critical theory and good international citizenship in order to develop a normative framework for the evaluation of humanitarian intervention. Situated at the interface of critical theory and practice in international relations, the thesis investigates the concepts of legitimacy, normativity and evaluative standards, and explores problems surrounding their practical application in relation to NATO's intervention in Kosovo in 1999.\ud \ud The research builds on recent developments in discourse ethics to formulate, ground, test and evaluate a critical theoretical framework. This framework is presented\ud as a series of `communicative imperatives' which might inform initiatives in conflict resolution. The `communicative imperatives' are derived from an analysis of\ud contemporary debates around Habermasian discourse ethics and good international citizenship. The research thus explores several existing applications of Habermasian\ud discourse ethics in international relations, notably Linklater's, and examines recurrent concerns relating to the relationship between the universal and the particular in\ud normative international theory. The argument draws upon Benhabib's procedural emphasis, Shapcott's move towards Gadamerian hermeneutics and feminist critiques of discourse ethics in order to formulate a conception of dialogue that gives critical purchase on contemporary practices of exclusion and coercion; practices that all too often remain unproblematised. \ud \ud What emerges is a clearer understanding of the need for communicative fairness in processes of conflict resolution - rather than a substantive standard of right - and an\ud appraisal of how such a procedural evaluation can be justified and applied. This, then, is a theoretical analysis of the potential and limitations of an evaluative framework which prioritises `good communication' in the practices of international deliberations. It seeks to test the communicative imperatives in the particularity of the deliberations surrounding the intervention in Kosovo. Consequently, it draws conclusions about communicative practice during the conflict and the implications of a communicative model both for international relations and what it means to be a good international citizen

Publisher: School of Politics & International Studies (POLIS) (Leeds)
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:238

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