Javascript verkar inte påslaget? - Vissa delar av Lunds universitets webbplats fungerar inte optimalt utan javascript, kontrollera din webbläsares inställningar.
Du är här

Liberal International theory: Eurocentric but not always Imperialist?

  • Martin Hall
  • John Hobson
Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 210-245
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: International Theory
Volym: 2
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

This article has two core objectives: first to challenge the conventional

understanding of liberal international theory (which we do by focussing specifically on classical liberalism) and second, to develop much further postcolonialism’s conception of Eurocentrism. These twin objectives come together insofar as we argue that classical liberalism does not always stand for anti-imperialism/noninterventionism given that significant parts of it were Eurocentric and proimperialist. But we also argue that in those cases where liberals rejected imperialism they did so not out of a commitment to cultural pluralism, as we are conventionally told, but as a function of either a specific Eurocentric or a scientific racist stance. This, in turn, means that Eurocentrism can be reduced neither to

scientific racism nor to imperialism. Thus while we draw on postcolonialism and its critique of liberalism as Eurocentric, we find its conception of Eurocentrism (and hence its vision of liberalism) to be overly reductive. Instead we differentiate four variants of ‘polymorphous Eurocentrism’ while revealing how two of these rejected imperialism and two supported it. And by revealing how classical liberalism was embedded within these variants of Eurocentrism so we recast the conventional interpretation. In doing so, we bring to light the ‘protean career of polymorphous liberalism’ as it crystallizes in either imperialist or anti-imperialist forms as a function of the different variants of Eurocentrism within which it is embedded. Finally, because two of these variants underpin modern liberalism

(as discussed in the Conclusions) so we challenge international relations scholars to rethink their conventional understanding of both classical- and modern-liberalism, as much as we challenge postcolonialists to rethink their conception of Eurocentrism.


  • Political Science
  • liberalism
  • racism
  • Eurocentrism/Orientalism
  • interventionism/noninterventionism
  • imperialism/anti-imperialism
  • postcolonialism


  • Internationell politik-lup-obsolete
  • Politisk teori och metod-lup-obsolete
  • ISSN: 1752-9719
Martin Hall
E-post: martin [dot] hall [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se


Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

+46 46 222 89 54




Statsvetenskapliga institutionen


Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Lunds universitet
Box 52, 221 00 LUND
Telefon: 046-222 00 00 (växel)

Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten