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Global Politics Research Group Event: “Decolonising Intervention” Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS
Dr Sabaratnam will be talking about her new book, Decolonising Intervention: International Statebuilding in Mozambique, due out in June 2017. Building, or re-building, states after war or crisis is a contentious process. But why? Sabaratnam argues that to best answer the question, we need to engage with the people who are supposedly benefiting from international ‘expertise’. This book challenges and enhances standard ‘critical’ narratives of statebuilding by exploring the historical experiences and interpretive frameworks of the people targeted by intervention. The methods are rooted in the analysis of anti-colonial thinkers and feminist standpoint theory. Drawing on face-to-face interviews, archival research, policy reviews and in-country participant-observations carried out over several years, the author challenges assumptions underpinning external interventions, such as the incapacity of ‘local’ agents to govern and the necessity of ‘liberal’ values in demanding better governance. The analysis focuses on Mozambique, long hailed as one of international donors’ great success stories, but whose peaceful, prosperous, democratic future now hangs in the balance. The conclusions draw on the concepts of colonial difference and the coloniality of power to explain the structural failures of intervention as experienced by its targets.
Given PPi’s research themes, this talk should be of interest to PPi members; Dr Sabaratnam was an invited speaker at our Symposium on Collaborative Working / Decolonising the Academy