Governing through critique: post-conditionality and bottom-up governance in the Merida Initiative

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This article is about how the governmentality critique of top-down governance
feeds into current interventionary policy thinking. Drawing on the Merida Initiative, a US–Mexican security cooperation agreement signed in 2007, the article brings out how neoliberal civil society discourse continuously deconstructs the normative and analytical assumptions, categories, and concepts of modern liberal-universalism. In the Merida Initiative, civil society representatives were repeatedly delegitimized for being part of a detached internationalized NGO bubble. The goal was to enable idiosyncratic local
knowledge-power to unfold its creative governing potential unencumbered by the oppressive and counterproductive reductions and exclusions of liberal-universal episteme. In this way, policy thinking actually coincides with the governmentality critique of standardized knowledge and top-down imposition. One of the negative implications is that international policy-makers lose their ability to arbitrate according to fixed normative standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-910
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • Neo-liberalism
  • Epistemology
  • Critique
  • Governmentality
  • Civil society
  • Intervention


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