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Liberal World Orders$
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Tim Dunne and Trine Flockhart

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265529

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265529.001.0001

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Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in Eurocentric Liberal International Theory

Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in Eurocentric Liberal International Theory

(p.139) Chapter 7 Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism in Eurocentric Liberal International Theory
Liberal World Orders

John M. Hobson

Martin Hall

British Academy

This chapter examines the validity of the postcolonial view that liberalism is inherently imperialist and culturally monist. In so doing it examines the claim that classical liberal international thought is committed to individual liberty and human dignity in the domestic realm and anti-imperialism and non-interventionism in the international realm. It points to a schizophrenic set of practices where interdependence, non-intervention, and anti-imperialism apply only to relations between ‘civilized’ states but not to the relations between ‘civilized’ and non-European powers. It suggests that the relationship between liberalism and imperialism is a highly complex one, and that liberalism is neither inherently imperialist nor anti-imperialist, but that classical liberalism was inherently and consistently Eurocentric — and perhaps still is.

Keywords:   postcolonialism, civilized states, racism, classical liberalism, non-European powers, culturally monist, Eurocentric

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