Critical agency, resistance and a post-colonial civil society

Oliver P. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


IR's dominant theoretical and methodological approaches are, to varying degrees, compliance oriented. IR needs a theory of resistance if it is to survive its current methodological and ethical crisis. Resistance, read from a broadly Foucaultian perspective, is a process in which hidden, small-scale and marginal agencies have an impact on power, on norms, civil society, the state and the 'international'. This may be in the form of individual or grass-roots critical agency not coordinated or mobilized on a large scale but still globally connected. Such agency is often discursive and aimed at peaceful change and transformation. Through such critical agency a post-colonial civil society has emerged, which is transversal, transnational, fragmented, but may be constitutive of new, hybrid and post-liberal forms of peace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-440
Number of pages22
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • IR
  • agency
  • civil society
  • critique
  • post-colonial


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