This book contributes to an increasingly important branch of critical security studies that combines insights from critical geopolitics and postcolonial critique by making an argument about the geographies of violence and their differential impact in contemporary security practices, including but not limited to military intervention. The book explores military intervention in Libya through the categories of space and time, to provide a robust ethico-political critique of the intervention.
Much of the mainstream international relations scholarship on humanitarian intervention frames the ethical, moral and legal debate over intervention in terms of a binary, between human rights and state sovereignty. In response, O’Sullivan questions the ways in which military violence was produced as a rational and reasonable response to the crisis in Libya, outlining and destabilising this false binary between the human and the state. The book offers methodological tools for questioning the violent institutions at the heart of humanitarian intervention and asking how intervention has been produced as a rational response to crisis.
Contributing to the ongoing academic conversation in the critical literature on spatiality, militarism and resistance, the book draws upon postcolonial and poststructural approaches to critical security studies, and will be of great interest to scholars and graduates of critical security studies and international relations.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Libya’s ‘model intervention’
- Humanitarian Intervention and R2P in Critical Perspective
- Space, time and insecurity: Challenge hegemonic liberal space-time
- Their History, Our Speed: Precision and Speed in Virtuous War in Libya
- Bombs, Torture and Migrants: The Colonial Present in Libya
- Geographies of the uprising: rag-tag rebels and military deficiencies
- Voices of Resistance
From Humanitarian Intervention to R2P
The critique of intervention and R2P: a view from where?
Outlining a critical spatio-temporal methodology
Challenging progressive liberal time
The need for speed in military intervention
Humanitarianism from a great height: grey battle lines in the virtuous war
Colonial entanglements and the making of the Libyan state
A two-dimensional ‘Gaddafi’s Libya’ and multidimensional geographies of violence
Coming in from the cold: Arms, torture and migration in the deal with Gaddafi
Imaginative geographies of the Libya conflict
‘Rag-tag rebels’: juvenility, fear and threat
Libya’s political space post-Gaddafi
Coda: Contestation and disorder
Voices of the uprising, rebuilding the state
Conclusion: When a war is not a war, and resisting humanitarian intervention
Susannah O’Sullivan teaches International Relations at the University of Bristol and University of Leicester, UK. She received her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2015.