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Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention in the 21st Century

Edited by Aiden Warren, Damian Grenfell

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Examines the complex ethics and politics of humanitarian intervention

Since the Cold War, humanitarian interventions have transitioned through a range of stages. These 13 essays focus on the challenges associated with interventions, conflict and attendant human rights violations, unmitigated and systematic violence, state re-building, and issues associated with human mobility and dislocation.

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Shirley V. Scott

Aiden Warren and Damian Grenfell

Part I: The Evolution of Humanitarian Interventions in a Global Era

1: Rethinking Humanitarian-Military Interventions: Violence and Modernity in an Age of Globalization
Damian Grenfell

2: Peace in the Twenty-First Century: States, Capital and Institutions
Oliver P. Richmond

3: The Evolution of Economic Interventions and the Violence of International Accountability over the longue durée
Bronwen Everill

4: Changing Patterns of Social Connection across Interventions: Unravelling Aberrant Globalization
Paul Battersby

Part II: The Limits of Sovereignty and the Ethics of Interventions

5: A Framework for Reimagining Order and Justice: Transitions in Violence and Interventions in a Global Era
Michaelene Cox

6: Humanitarian Intervention? Responding Ethically to Globalizing Violence in the Age of Mediated Violence
Paul James

7: 'Manifestly Failing' and 'Unwilling or Unable' as Intervention Formulas: A Critical Assessment
Ivi Bode

8: Interventions and the Limits of the Responsibility to Protect: Regional Organizations and the Global South
Joseph Hongoh

9: Regulating the Abstraction of Violence: Interventions and the Deployment of New Technologies Globally
Aiden Warren

Part III: The Politics of Post-Intervention: (re)-building and humanitarian engagement

10: (Re)Building the world: Local Agency and Human Security in the New Millennium
Trudy Fraser

11: Who Rebuilds? Local Roles in Rebuilding Shattered Societies
Susan H. Allen

12: Transforming the Discourse of Civil-Military Interaction for Humanitarian Environments
Vandra Harris


About the Author

Aiden Warren is Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University. Among other titles, he is the author of Presidential Doctrines: U.S. National Security from George Washington to Barack Obama (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016) and Governing the Use-Of-Force in International Relations: The Post-9/11 US Challenge on International Law (Palgrave-McMillan, 2014).

Damian Grenfell is Director of the Centre for Global Research, RMIT, Australia. He is the lead editor of Rethinking Insecurity, War and Violence: Beyond Savage Globalization? (Routledge, 2008).


This thought-provoking volume makes a significant contribution to debates about intervention. Eschewing conventional approaches to the subject, the book tackles some key issues, from the evolution of humanitarian interventions, the limitations of sovereignty, through to the politics of post-intervention (re)-building and humanitarianism. Important case studies from Timor-Leste to Syria and Libya are also included. This timely book will be of interest to both scholarly and policy audiences.

- George Lawson, London School of Economics

This rigorous multi-disciplinary volume redefines interventions as attempts at social transformation related to different domains (economic, social, military, humanitarian) and actors (local, national, regional, international), resulting in a much appreciated call to scholars, students and practitioners to study and think of interventions as complex, inter-related, multi-faceted, multi-level political and social processes. The emphasis on local contexts, actors, institutions and power relations as defining factors for understanding the dynamics and outcomes of interventions makes this book a valuable contribution to the literature.

- Liesbet Heyse, University of Groningen

An invaluable series of studies, rich in theory and varied in substance, that admirably depict the multiple complexities of interventionary diplomacy as it has unfolded in recent decades. Indispensable reading for all those concerned with the shifting parameters of world politics.

- Richard Falk, Princeton University

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