Liberalism and Transformation

The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

Subjects: History, Political Science, International Relations
Paperback : 9780472055050, 218 pages, 2 tables, 6 x 9, November 2021
Hardcover : 9780472075058, 218 pages, 2 tables, 6 x 9, November 2021
Open Access : 9780472902491, 218 pages, 2 tables, 6 x 9, August 2021

Funding is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as part of the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot
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The messy history of emancipatory liberalism

Table of contents

Chapter One. Introduction: Liberalism and Violence
Chapter Two. The How of Emancipatory Liberalism
Chapter Three. Transformation and Civilization: Liberalism, Empire, Intervention
Chapter Four. Transformation and Self-Determination: Internationalists at War
Chapter Five. Transformation and Totalitarianism: Intervention and Cold War Liberalism
Chapter Six. Transformation and Terror: State Failure, Development, and Human Rights
Chapter Seven. Conclusion: Toward a Minimalist Liberalism


Liberalism and Transformation is the first scholarly work that explores the historical, philosophical, and intellectual development of global liberalism since the nineteenth century in the context of the deployment of violence, force, and intervention. Using an approach that includes interpretive and contextual analysis of texts from writers, philosophers, and policy-makers across nearly two centuries, as well as historiographical and historical analysis of archival documents (some of which have been recently declassified) and other media, Liberalism and Transformation narrates the messy history of emancipatory liberalism and its engagement with issues of war and peace. The book contributes to both a rethinking of liberal democracy and its relationship to world politics, as well as the effects of liberal internationalism on global processes. Furthermore, Liberalism and Transformation invites readers to reflect on global ethics and transformation in world politics. In the first place, it shows how ethical imaginings of the world have direct effects on actions of transformative importance. In the second place, it suggests that discourses are fluid, changing, and complex.

Dillon Stone Tatum is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University.

“In this theoretically sophisticated, tangibly written, historically rich, and simply brilliant book, Dillon Stone Tatum explores the challenging relationship between liberalism and violence. The book is an analytical, theoretical, and historical achievement. Yet it is also a sorely needed contribution to international ethics, via Tatum’s ‘minimalist’ liberal alternative to the violent liberalism he examines in the past, and ones that continue to shape the tenuous global political present.”

—Brent Steele, Francis D Wormuth Presidential Chair, University of Utah

- Brent Steele

Liberalism and Transformation is a necessary and robust critique of international liberalism and a beautifully conceived re-engagement with the politics of minimalism and anti-imperialism. By combining historical inquiry with discourse and case study analysis, Stone Tatum shines a spotlight so bright on the relationship between liberalism and violence in international order, it’s impossible for conscience to look away.”

—Jeanne Morefield, University of Oxford

- Jeanne Morefield

“. . . theoretically informative and historically rich.”
—Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International politics at City, University of London; Visiting Professor, LSE

- Inderjeet Parmar, Professor of International politics at City, University of London; Visiting Profes

“In this book, Tatum uncovers an important link between violence and liberalism. Proposing the idea of emancipatory liberalism to understand how liberal ideas are turned into military interventions, this book is an outstanding example of how to think critically about international affairs.”
—Anthony F. Lang, Jr., University of St Andrews

- Anthony F. Lang, Jr., University of St Andrews