‘Neutrality: A really dead concept?’ A reprise

Agius, C and Devine, K 2011, '‘Neutrality: A really dead concept?’ A reprise' , Cooperation and Conflict, 46 (3) , pp. 265-284.

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This article approaches ‘neutrality’ as an essentially contested concept and traces its meaning and purpose over centuries-long historical timelines and situated political, societal and security contexts. It distinguishes neutrality from other concepts such as ‘neutralization’ ‘non-belligerency’, ‘non-alignment’, ‘military non-alignment’, ‘military neutrality’ and ‘non-allied’. The article explains the politics of defining neutrality in the current European political and legal landscape and in the context of shifting definitions and practices of war, peace, security and state sovereignty. This episteme-based analysis focuses on changes to neutrality in accordance with the rise and fall of particular empires and international actors over time, and changes to its status linked to the development and reification of particular meta-theoretically-based subfields of International Relations and Political Science, setting the background to this special issue of Cooperation and Conflict. A renewed emphasis on the normative aspects of neutrality (i.e. the role of domestic values, politics, preferences, history and mass publics in foreign policy formulation) is achieved by employing a range of perspectives, characterized by increased pluralism in levels of analysis and theoretical approaches. Through this pluralism, authors engage with (1) the strategic and normative drivers underpinning the norm of neutrality, (2) the potential for neutrals to serve as norm entrepreneurs in the field of peace promotion, (3) the tenuous legal status of elites’ quasi-neutral foreign policy constructions underpinned by tensions between discourses and practices and (4) the discursive strategies underpinning the move from neutral states’ traditional forms of neutrality to what is termed ‘post-neutrality’ in the current politico-legal context.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Cooperation and Conflict
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1460-3691
Related URLs:
Depositing User: C Agius
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2011 09:06
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2019 09:04
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/17468

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