This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this volume, which is about the connection between the United Nations' (UN) evolving approach to intra-state conflicts and the value system of the international community. This study takes issue with the relatively reductionist explanations of what the UN is and how it relates to peace and security. It explores the interest-norm complexes within which the cases in the Congo, Cyprus, Angola, and Cambodia were handled by the UN. This volume shows how relevant actors' normative preferences were resolved in specific peacekeeping environments where the UN was especially active in addressing intra-state conflicts.
This chapter discusses the analytical framework used in this study of the United Nations' role in intra-state peacekeeping. The study uses historical structural method to analyse the normative discourses of relevant actors in peacekeeping environments. It establishes whether questions pertaining to objectives, functions and authority are addressed by the relevant actors in any direct or obvious sense and then analyses significant clusters of normative views in relation to peacekeeping environments, focusing on the extent to which differences of opinion and perception between crucial actors have a bearing on the UN's response to intra-state conflicts in the different periods.