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Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping

The United Nations and the Mobilization of Ideology

1999
Author:

François Debrix

Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping

A critical look at the meaning of UN peacekeeping missions.

Time and again the United Nations has deployed peacekeeping missions in trouble spots around the globe: Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda. Has peace ensued? Have these missions, in fact, made any difference in the disorder and destruction they are purported to forestall? Or are they, as François Debrix contends in this critical revisiting of UN interventions, an illusion-more virtual peacekeeping than actual interventions in international affairs?

Time and again the United Nations has deployed peacekeeping missions in trouble spots around the globe: Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda. Has peace ensued? Have these missions, in fact, made any difference in the disorder and destruction they are purported to forestall? Or are they, as François Debrix contends, an illusion-more virtual peacekeeping than actual interventions in international affairs?

Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping is a critical revisiting of UN interventions. Addressing the question, “How do UN peacekeeping missions shape the contemporary vision of international affairs?” the book applies the notions of simulation and ideology to the practice and theory of international organization. Debrix focuses on the media strategies that give UN missions the appearance of effectiveness and that promote liberal ideologies of governance.

Debrix shows how the UN missions in Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia attempted to simulate a landscape of ordered international politics—a New World Order—by disseminating visual renditions of peaceful intervention and humanitarian assistance. As a result of these sometimes elaborate efforts, Debrix finds, the UN peacekeeping missions of the past decade represent a study in visual simulation, which has nothing to do with actual matters of international life in the 1990s.

Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping

François Debrix is assistant professor of international relations at Florida International University, Miami.

Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping

Contents

Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Re-Envisioning the United Nations

1. Destabilizing Leviathan: Revisiting the Order/Anarchy Debate through a Postmodern(ized) Hobbes
2. Space Quest: The UN and the Politics of Panoptic Surveillance
3. From a Hopeless Situation to Operation Restore Hope, and Beyond: Suture, Ideology, and Simulation in Somalia
4. Visions of Otherness and Interventionism in Bosnia, or How the West Was Won Again
5. A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Medical Assistance and Humanitarianism as Substitutes for UN Peacekeeping
6. Theorizing the Visual: New Critical Horizons

Appendix: Chronology of the Rwandan Crisis
Notes
Index