Legitimizing intervention : A critical reading of a contemporary Swedish discourse of peace operations
This thesis takes its onset in a growing debate about globalization and its possible consequences for the Weberian-state monopoly on the use of force. It concerns the discursive legitimizing and construction of Swedish military peace operations. It studies how the official, Governmental discourse is structured, which arguments are used and how these in turn motivate and legitimize operations. Theoretically it is situated within a poststructuralist understanding but drawing on wider international relations theories to relate the empirical findings to existing research. Methodologically it uses a discourse analytical framework developed by Lene Hansen, supplemented with analytical concepts stemming from the work of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Empirically the thesis analyses Governmental Bills, a Governmental Communication and one op-ed written by the minister of Defence in regards of peace operations. The empirical analysis show that the official Swedish discourse of peace operations is structured by three basic discourses; internationalism, stateism and humanitarianism. These are analysed and interpreted in the light of different IR theoretical understandings. The thesis argues that the basic discourses are involved in a reciprocal process in which the state legitimizes peace operations and reproduces the idea of states and foremost the notion of an international state system. The humanitarian factor is less elaborated on in the material, which can be interpreted in different ways, one being that the humanitarian situation is not so important in the eyes of states, another that it is regarded as so self-evident that the situation of flesh and blood individuals is the legitimating reason for Swedish engagement in peace operations that it does not need to be said. The thesis ends with a critical discussion where its findings are related both to the globalization debate and critical peace operations literature.
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