The Responsibility to Protect doctrine is frequently said to represent a significant normative advance in international politics. Within such thinking, the argument that we hold responsibilities ‘to those who we do not know, but whose lives should be of concern to us’ appears as central. For many, such a formulation of the issue has at once been radical in its potential (for instance, in emancipatory projects concerned with the transformation of political community), as it has been, overall, an empowering and compelling narrative.
For those patterns of projects engaged in singling out such ‘moments’ of radical departure from established norms of order in historical evolution, we can speculate that the intention might be to demonstrate the effects of a solidarist shift in international politics, or to demonstrate progress in thinking on moral and political community aligned to certain cosmopolitan principles. These types of optimistic assessments inevitably raise the question of whether or not this level of moral concern towards others at the international level is, in fact, a unique feature of modernity and the contemporary state system.
This line of enquiry represents my central curiosity, and from it, the project proceeds off the basis of a dual interest. With a focus on the case of the R2P in specific, my intention is to treat two often-claimed aspects of this development. The first of these is its supposed novelty as a feature in international politics. Second, and in relation to this supposed novelty, it’s ‘normativity’. In addressing these two features of this historical development, the aim of the project is ultimately to interrogate the nature, as well as the significance of both the emergence of R2P in international politics, as well as the trope of international political responsibility more broadly.
BA Hons in Public Affairs and Policy Management, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
MSc in International Politics at the University of Glasgow
General Research Interests
- International political theory
- History of ideas
- International political responsibility
- The international Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P)
- Doctoral Career Development Scholarship, Aberystwyth University
2013/14 IP10820 Approaching the Political
2012/13 IP 10320 War, Strategy and Intelligence