SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Rao, Rahul (2004) 'The Empire Writes Back (to Michael Ignatieff).' Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 33 (1). pp. 145-166.

Text - Draft Version
Download (138kB) | Preview


This article critiques the re-legitimisation of empire evident in recent writing by Michael Ignatieff. It begins by locating his work within the larger debate on empire emerging today. Focusing first on Ignatieff's more general comments on empire, it suggests that his defensive case for empire is misleading: it ignores the extent to which the circumstances allegedly necessitating `new' empire are themselves a consequence of older empire, and indeed older US empire. Focusing next on Ignatieff's largely consequentialist case for the 2003 attack on Iraq, it argues that the `success' of the imperial project — to the extent that this requires the cooperation of Iraqis — will depend crucially on the motives of the imperialists. Without engaging directly with Ignatieff's work, the final section addresses some of the questions that the foregoing critique may have raised. In particular, it examines critically the claim that empires are legitimised by the public goods they provide.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)
School Research Centres > Centre for the Study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law
Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 03058298
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2009 10:47


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Research Mentions and Reach

Additional statistics for this record are available via IRStats2

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item