Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

John Duffield

Second Advisor

Peter Lindsay

Third Advisor

Jelena Subotic


This project seeks to expand the dialogue about international humanitarian intervention in a complex emergency or mass atrocity situation by asserting that post-intervention political reconstruction is as essential to the intervention as is the provision of material humanitarian aid and even the ostensive goal of protecting the aid regimes. As a result of this assertion, consideration of humanitarian intervention has, to this point, been too focused on the legal, ethical, and theoretical implications of war and hegemony. The current dialogue centers on its security studies aspects, owing largely to its Cold War precedent. However, a full consideration of the subject of humanitarian intervention must also consider the broader implications of the intervention, including recovery and mitigation of future events. When this is considered at all, the literature to this point largely treats post-intervention establishment of political and social infrastructure as a secondary consideration to the military intervention.

The primary approach to address this needed expansion includes drawing a comparison between humanitarian intervention and a similar domestic concept: comprehensive emergency management theory. While there are several dissimilarities between emergency management and its putative international correlate, the theoretical framework it establishes—including not only the response found in the usual literature, but also the well-defined concepts of recovery, mitigation, and preparedness—can expand our understanding of the implications and requirements of humanitarian intervention. It also provides an important lesson in its mirror example for the prescribed evolution of humanitarian intervention scholarship away from its Cold War genesis. This is because domestic emergency management also has a foundation in security studies concerns, but has since evolved into an all-hazards philosophy that embraces prevention and recovery as much as simple response to a human crisis. This parallel will provide a framework for approaching humanitarian intervention that goes significantly beyond the literature to this point and provides a much more encompassing approach to the subject than there has been to this point.