Liberal peace: from civilising mission to self-doubt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Focusing on post-Cold War international interventions, this article traces the emergence of a malaise within the liberal universal project. While it is agreed that the liberal peace is in crisis, there is disagreement on the nature of the impasse. For mainstream IR scholars, there is a resistance by actors in the Global South to follow the policy dictates of powerful Western governments and the international organisations they dominate. While this is certainly the case, this article argues that the crisis of the liberal peace is also rooted in the erosion of liberal universal foundations. In addition to liberal norms being rejected by Southern actors, the liberal peace crisis reflects a deeper scepticism on the part of international policy elites regarding the ability of liberal market democracy to resolve a wide range of social, political and economic problems. In addition to being a crisis of legitimacy between the Global North and the Global South, there seems to exist an erosion of liberal universal foundations which is undermining the ability of international policy elites to act purposively in global affairs. This argument is drawn out with reference to post-liberal approaches to peacebuilding which foreground the radical potential of non-liberal forms of agency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Change, Peace and Security
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • authority
  • governmentality
  • Intervention
  • liberal peace
  • peacebuilding
  • post-Liberalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Liberal peace: from civilising mission to self-doubt'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this