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Title: Beyond the hermeneutics of suspicion in the critique of humanitarian intervention
Authors: Akrivoulis, Dimitrios E.
Type: Article
Subjects: FRASCATI::Social sciences::Political science::International relations
Keywords: Hermeneutics of Suspicion
Hermeneutics of Naïveté
Paul Ricoeur
Social Constructivism
Humanitarian Intervention
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Source: Review of International Studies
Volume: 43
Issue: 2
First Page: 240
Last Page: 259
Abstract: Realist and Marxist critiques of humanitarian intervention are distinctively materialistic in scope. The IR literature has already described this scepticism as a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’, a term associated with the work of Paul Ricoeur, which aims to unearth the intervenors’ material and geopolitical interests hypocritically hidden behind the pretext of humanitarianism. The article first notes the decontextualised misappropriations of the term as an iconic and omnipotent instrument of doubt, as well as the limitations of the social constructivist response on the matter. By contextualising Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of suspicion as developed in his life work, the article then calls for an extension of critique from a hermeneutics of suspicion to a hermeneutics of naïveté. Applied in the critique of the ideology of humanitarian intervention, the article thus calls for a shift of focus from the examination of the distorting (Marxism, realism) and legitimising (social constructivism) functions of this ideology to its integrating function that has allowed the evocation of humanitarian principles as international norms, and uncritically vindicates this arrangement. The article proposes that this hermeneutical detour could allow critique to proceed to a greater analytical depth, opening up a set of critical questions.
ISSN: 0260-2105
Other Identifiers: 10.1017/S0260210516000383
Appears in Collections:Department of Balkan, Slavic & Oriental Studies

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