By Nina Wilén (auth.)
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Extra resources for Justifying Interventions in Africa: (De)Stabilizing Sovereignty in Liberia, Burundi and the Congo
Sanctions are thus considered as a form of intervention here. In spite of the attempt to deﬁne the notion of intervention, this study omits two specifying factors to the deﬁnition: a possible government agreement to an intervention and the distinction of whether an intervention is humanitarian or not. This omission is a conscious choice, not only to include all the cases examined in the deﬁnition, but also because of the ambiguity related to these two factors. In the next two paragraphs the reasons for these omissions are explained.
On the other end of the meta-theoretical scale, the relativist corner, sovereignty is part of a larger notion of international relations that favours the idealistic side over the materialistic aspect. As opposed to the rationalist side, which believes in the existence of an objective, material world, relativists consider everything to be dependent on who is interpreting what – meaning that practically no knowledge can be objective because everything is interpreted. This also means that discourses are the most important, if not the only relevant, object of study.
However, when a state no longer has recognition by external and internal actors that it has the ‘exclusive’ authority to intervene coercively in activities within its territory (Thomson, 1993, p. 219), sovereignty and consequently the state can be said to be destabilized. Thomson describes it like this: authority is about rule-making, while control is about ruleenforcement. When authority is contingent on internal recognition, control depends on the concrete capabilities to monitor and enforce (Thomson, 1993, p.