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Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, Nicholas Onuf, Vojin Rakic, and Petar Bojanic, eds, Semantics of Statebuilding: Language, Meanings and Sovereignty, London: Routledge, 2014.
This volume examines international statebuilding in terms of language and meanings, rather than focusing narrowly on current policy practices.
After two decades of evolution towards more ‘integrated,’ ‘multi-faceted’ or, simply stated, more intrusive statebuilding and peacebuilding operations, a critical literature has slowly emerged on the economic, social and political impacts of these interventions. Scholars have started to analyse the ‘unintended consequences’ of peacebuilding missions, analysing all aspects of interventions.
Central to the book is the understanding that language is both the most important tool for building anything of social significance, and the primary repository of meanings in any social setting. Hence, this volume exemplifies how the multiple realities of state, state fragility and statebuilding are being conceptualised in mainstream literature, by highlighting the repercussions this conceptualisation has on ‘good practices’ for statebuilding. Drawing together leading scholars in the field, this project provides a meeting point between constructivism in international relations and the critical perspective on liberal peacebuilding, shedding new light on the commonly accepted meanings and concepts underlying the international (or world) order, as well as the semantics of contemporary statebuilding practices.