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Title: 'Hollow promises?' Critical materialism and the contradictions of the Democratic Peace
Authors: MacMillan, J
Keywords: Democratic peace;Critical materialism;World-system theory
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: International Theory, 4(3), 331 - 366, Nov 2012
Abstract: The Democratic Peace research programme explicitly and implicitly presents its claims in terms of their potential to underpin a universal world peace. Yet whilst the Democratic Peace appears robust in its geographical heartlands it appears weaker at the edges of the democratic world, where the spread of democracy and the depth of democratic political development is often limited and where historically many of the purported exceptions to the Democratic Peace are found. Whereas Democratic Peace scholarship has tended to overlook or downplay these phenomena, from a critical materialist perspective they are indicative of a fundamental contradiction within the Democratic Peace whereby its universalistic aspirations are thwarted by its material grounding in a hierarchical capitalist world economy. This, in turn, raises the question of whether liberal arguments for a universal Democratic Peace are in fact hollow promises. The article explores these concerns and argues that those interested in democracy and peace should pay more attention to the critical materialist tradition, which in the discussion below is represented principally by the world-system approach.
Description: © Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1752-9719
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations
Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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