The responsibility to protect and the notion of irresponsibility in international law

Samara, Angeliki (2018) The responsibility to protect and the notion of irresponsibility in international law. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The responsibility to protect concept (R2P), as specified in the report of the International Commission of Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2001, is a re-articulation of the overworked right of humanitarian intervention. Since then, the concept has been used by the international community, as a form of moral argumentation that justifies the use of force for human protection purposes. One of the connecting threads of this thesis has been to reflect on the meaning, effects and limits of ‘responsibility’ within R2P. This thesis explores the concept’s institutionalization, its juridico-moral framework and structure of address. The resulting insight points to a ‘notion of irresponsibility’ that is internal to responsibility practices, as these originate from modern forms of social organization and their ‘mentalities’. This thesis attempts to argue that the global ethical responsibility we find within R2P emanates from a foreclosing structure of address. Such a foreclosing structure fails the promise of protection at an inter-subjective/intra-subjective level and transforms global ethical responsibility into a project of governance, management and control. This vantage point is one in which the ‘international community’ of liberal international law and legal cosmopolitanism projects a self-assured self and fails to account for the limits of its own self-understanding, irresponsibility and violence. The juridico-moral framework of R2P both constitutes and is constitutive of forms of political subjectivity. Therefore, it materially circumscribes the politico-ethical limits of the structure of address of social and political violence globally. Drawing on Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, the ‘notion of irresponsibility’ expounded in this thesis exposes the internal conditions, paradoxes and ‘aporias’ of responsibility and therefore, it also embodies them. It works as a conceptual resource, a kind of ‘talking-back’ to its discourse and presents a re-appropriation or representation of the global scene of address of social and political violence. This vantage point yields a radically different approach from that taken by liberal internationalists and legal cosmopolitans. This research contributes a critique of the juridico-moral framework of the concept and of our resourcefulness for global ethical judgment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ6360 Non military coercion > JZ6368 Intervention. Preventive diplomacy and other preventive measures Including intervention by states or intergovernmental organization in civil wars > JZ6369 Humanitarian intervention
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 09:59
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2021 07:06

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