‘The International Community Needs to Act’: Loose Use and Empty Signalling of a Hackneyed Concept

Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, Florian P. Kühn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

When political actors and international relations scholars invoke ‘the international community’, the term is commonly framed very loosely. It is used either as a reference to the norms of international politics or, according to its composition, as a coalition of concerned actors. This article, by contrast, argues that it is the interplay of image and practice of the term's invocation that shapes its multi-faceted character. ‘The international community’ can be used by many different groups, state and non-state alike, to locate their political goals in the context of a wider array of values. Usually, these norms are state related and can be used to simulate political relevance. Conversely, actors defying widely accepted values can be excluded and policy against them legitimized. Addressing domestic as well as international audiences, the claim to be acting as, or on behalf of, ‘the international community’ is mostly virtual but has definite political consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2011

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