Disciplining democracy: United Nations peacekeeping, international security and democratization in the post -Cold War era

Laura Zanotti, Florida International University


After the end of the Cold War, democratization and good governance became the organizing concepts for activities of the United Nations, regional organizations and states in the fields of peace, development and security. How can this increasing interest in democratization and its connection with international security be explained? This dissertation applies the theoretical tools developed by Michel Foucault in his discussions of disciplinarity and government to the analysis of the United Nations debate on democracy in the 1990s, and of two United Nations pro-democracy peacekeeping operations and their aftermath: the United Nations interventions in Haiti and Croatia. It probes “how” certain techniques of power came into being and describes their effects, using as data the texts that elaborate the United Nations understanding of democracy and the texts that constitute peacekeeping. In the face of the proliferation of unpredictable threats in the last decades of the twentieth century a new form of international power emerged. Order in the international arena increasingly was maintained through activities aimed at reducing risk and increasing predictability through the normalization of “rogue” states. The dissertation shows that in the context of these activities, which included but were not limited to UN peacekeeping, normality was identified with democracy, non-democratic regimes with international threats, and democratization with international security. “Good governance” doctrines translated the political debate on democracy into the technical language of functioning state institutions. International organizations adopted good governance as the framework that made democratization a universal task within the reach of their expertise. In Haiti, the United Nations engaged in efforts to transform punishment institutions (the judiciary, police and the prison) into disciplined and disciplinary machines. In Croatia, agreements signed in the context of peacekeeping established in detail the rules of functioning of administrations and the monitoring mechanisms for their implementation. However, in Haiti, the institutions promoted were not sustainable. And in Croatia reforms are stalled by lack of consensus. This dissertation puts efforts to bring about democracy through peacekeeping in the context of a specific modality of power and suggests caution in engaging in universal normalizing endeavors.

Subject Area

International law|International relations|Political science

Recommended Citation

Zanotti, Laura, "Disciplining democracy: United Nations peacekeeping, international security and democratization in the post -Cold War era" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3165149.