Liberalism is not pacifism. Loosely-speaking liberal states - states that attach importance, at least internally, to individual autonomy - have frequently been willing to use military force; they have also, on occasion, fought aggressive wars of choice. But liberal ideology and practice are not at ease with military adventures: war of its very nature involves attacks on life; it usually requires some kind of trade-off between security and liberty; and it encourages a warrior ethos that draws upon non-liberal motivations.
On July 6-7 2012, the University of Reading's Leverhulme-supported Major Research Programme 'The Liberal Way of War' will host a conference concerned with the past, present, and future of 'Liberal Wars'. It will be concerned with the constraints on liberal belligerent states arising from their liberal commitments, the tensions between liberal professions and the realities of large-scale warfare, and the way that such states represent their actions to themselves. We welcome proposals for papers (or for thematically-connected panels) from scholars with backgrounds in History, Law, International Relations, Strategic Studies, or Political Theory. Papers will, amongst other things, address the following questions:
How do liberals justify fighting?
What constraints do they respect?
Have those constraints been changing over time?
Has behaviour that flouts those constraints been counterproductive?
How do liberal wars end?
Are there ideological reasons for recent wars of choice?
We welcome case studies of conflicts or ideas derived from any place or period. Brief abstracts should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org before October 20 2011. Informal enquiries may be sent to Alan Cromartie (email@example.com).
Professor Alan Cromartie
School of Politics and International Relations,
University of Reading,
PO Box 218,
United Kingdom Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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