The proliferation of production networks and cross-border contracting is frequently cited as empowering globally active corporations to skirt, and shape, national regulations. While scholars often focus on the political gains from these new forms of business organization, we shift the conversation to the potential political costs of global firm reorganization. The spread of corporate subsidiaries and global supply-chain networks leave firms vulnerable to a host of jurisdictional claims, and by targeting a domestically rooted affiliate, states can bring the global practices of the multinational corporation in line with their interests. In other words, states can take advantage of the transnationalization of the firm to transnationalize their authority beyond traditional jurisdictional boundaries. We label this process "networked liabilities." Specifically, the combination of a firm’s sunk costs and the country’s jurisdictional substitutability determines the ability of governments to exert demands on multinational corporations. A key contribution of the article is to better specify the relationship between mobility and authority and to illustrate that networked liabilities can further empower a variety of states beyond traditional economic powers like the US or the European Union. We further highlight when firms may curtail the authority of great powers. The growing reach of the regulatory state domestically, coupled with the transnationalization of the firm, creates an increasing number of tools for certain governments to engage in economic statecraft beyond their borders. Our findings, then, contribute to debates on business–government relations in a globalized world, the changing nature of political risk, and the deterritorialization of state authority.
The years immediately preceding the First World War witnessed the development of a significant body of literature claiming to establish a ‘science of internationalism’. This article draws attention to the importance of this literature, especially in relation to understanding the roles of non-governmental organizations in world politics. It elaborates the ways in which this literature sheds light on issues that have become central to 21st-century debates, including the characteristics, influence and legitimacy of non-governmental organizations in international relations. Among the principal authors discussed in the article are Paul Otlet, Henri La Fontaine and Alfred Fried, whose role in the development of international theory has previously received insufficient attention. The article concludes with an evaluation of potential lessons to be drawn from the experience of the early 20th-century ‘science of internationalism’.
The nation-states that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are widely described to be peaceful in their relations with each other, so much so that scholars have referred to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ "long peace." While it is true that war eludes the region, interstate militarized disputes remain a persistent feature. How can we account for the absence of war between Association of Southeast Asian Nations members in light of persistent militarized disputes? To address this question, this article builds on the emerging International Relations literature on habits and practice in interstate relations. I develop a framework centred on the habitual dispositions of communities of practitioners that focuses on the unreflexive cognitive and behavioural qualities of regional relations. These "habits of peace" circumscribe thinking and behaviour among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ state practitioners. Specifically, they have led to a toleration of limited violence among Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states. After tracing the existence of these habitual qualities of relations, I demonstrate their effects on regional crisis response, which makes possible community building and maintenance alongside considerable levels of interstate violence. I explore this through an in-depth analysis of the regional response to the 2011 Preah Vihear crisis between Cambodia and Thailand.
Despite the widespread nature of evasion (bad-faith compliance), this interesting phenomenon is under-studied in International Relations. Even the most sophisticated typologies of compliance and rule following overlook evasion. This is problematic because evasion is essentially a false positive that looks like genuine compliance but can have the effect of violation. Drawing on purposivist legal theory, this article offers an in-depth discussion of evasion. It articulates what evasion is, why it occurs, how it relates to designed flexibility, and how it impacts accountability. Evasion entails intentional compliance with the letter of the law but violation of the purpose of the law in order to minimize inconvenient obligations in an arguably legal fashion. Three original case studies illustrate the empirical purchase and generalizability of evasion in International Relations. Evasion contributes a more nuanced understanding of compliance, cautions that legality sometimes hinders accountability, and offers policy recommendations to counter undesirable evasion. The article concludes with promising directions for a research program on evasion.
Action-sentences about states, such as ‘North Korea conducted a nuclear test’, are ubiquitous in discourse about international relations. Although there has been a great deal of debate in International Relations about whether states are agents or actors, the question of how to interpret action-sentences about states has been treated as secondary or epiphenomenal. This article focuses on our practices of speaking and writing about the state rather than the ontology of the state. It uses Hobbes’ theory of attributed action to develop a typology of action-sentences and to analyse action-sentences about states. These sentences are not shorthand for action-sentences about individuals, as proponents of the metaphorical interpretation suggest. Nor do they describe the actions of singular agents, as proponents of the literal interpretation suggest. The central argument is that action-sentences about states are ‘attributive’, much like sentences about principals who act vicariously through agents: they identify the ‘owners’ of actions — the entities that are responsible for them — rather than the agents that perform the actions. Our practice of ascribing actions to states is not merely figurative, but nor does it presuppose that states are corporate agents.
Neoliberalism is widely regarded as the main culprit for the 2007/2008 global financial crisis. However, despite this abysmal failure, neoliberalism has not merely survived the crisis, but actually ‘thrived’. How is it possible to account for the resilience of neoliberalism? Existing scholarship has answered this question either by focusing on the distinctive qualities of neoliberalism (such as adaptability, internal coherence and capacity to incorporate dissent) or on the biopolitical capacity of neoliberalism to produce resilient subjects. This article adopts a different perspective. Drawing on and partially challenging the perspective of Michel Foucault, I argue that neoliberalism and biopolitics should be considered two complementary governmental rationalities, and that biopolitical rationalities contribute to governing the uncertainties and risks stemming from the neoliberalization of life. Biopolitics, in other words, plays a key role in governing the resilience of neoliberalism. Through this conceptual lens, the article explores how biopolitical rationalities of care have been deployed to govern the neoliberal crisis of the Greek sovereign debt, which threatened the stability of the European banking system and, I shall argue, the neoliberal life, wealth and well-being of the European population. The article discusses how biopolitical racism is an essential component of the biopolitical governance of neoliberalism. Biopolitical racism displaces the sources of risk, dispossession and inequality from the neoliberal regime to ‘inferior’ populations, whose lack of compliance with neoliberal dictates is converted into a threat to our neoliberal survival. This threat deserves punishment and authorizes further dynamics of neoliberal dispossession.
What drives processes of institution building within regional international organizations? We challenge those established theories of regionalism, and of institutionalized cooperation more broadly, that treat different organizations as independent phenomena whose evolution is conditioned primarily by internal causal factors. Developing the basic premise of ‘diffusion theory’ — meaning that decision-making is interdependent across organizations — we argue that institutional pioneers, and specifically the European Union, shape regional institution-building processes in a number of discernible ways. We then hypothesize two pathways — active and passive — of European Union influence, and stipulate an endogenous capacity for institutional change as a key scope condition for their operation. Drawing on a new and original data set on the institutional design of 34 regional international organizations in the period from 1950 to 2010, the article finds that: (1) both the intensity of a regional international organization’s structured interaction with the European Union (active influence) and the European Union’s own level of delegation (passive influence) are associated with higher levels of delegation within other regional international organizations; (2) passive European Union influence exerts a larger overall substantive effect than active European Union influence does; and (3) these effects are strongest among those regional international organizations that are based on founding contracts containing open-ended commitments. These findings indicate that the creation and subsequent institutional evolution of the European Union has made a difference to the evolution of institutions in regional international organizations elsewhere, thereby suggesting that existing theories of regionalism are insufficiently able to account for processes of institution building in such contexts.
The practice of contemporary warfare seems to be plagued by scandal. It is often assumed that the act of bearing witness to these moments of ethical failure, in which the relationship between the martial and the ethical breaks down, plays an important role in holding powerful actors to account for their conduct. Considerable faith has been placed in the role of transparency and truth-telling as foundations for normative engagements with war. This article argues that we must be cautious about this investment. Drawing on the work of Jean Baudrillard, this article offers a method for critically reading scandals as a series of line-drawing manoeuvres. Taken together, these manoeuvres demonstrate how scandals function to enable, excuse and obscure the complex landscapes of violence that define the spectacular and mundane sites of contemporary war. Reducing critical engagements with violent practices to a logic of recrimination, scandals often function to revitalise the very principles they appear to contest. Focusing upon the socio-political implications of wartime scandals, this article demonstrates that the performative force of scandals is therefore the reproduction of a violent status quo rather than opening up new spaces for imagining less violent futures. Offering a critical reading of controversies relating to the provision of humanitarian assistance and education in Afghanistan, this article reflects on the ambiguities and anxieties of critiquing violence.
Neoconservatism in US foreign policy is a hotly contested subject, yet most scholars broadly agree on what it is and where it comes from. From a consensus that it first emerged around the 1960s, these scholars view neoconservatism through what we call the ‘3Ps’ approach, defining it as a particular group of people (‘neocons’), an array of foreign policy preferences and/or an ideological commitment to a set of principles. While descriptively intuitive, this approach reifies neoconservatism in terms of its specific and often static ‘symptoms’ rather than its dynamic constitutions. These reifications may reveal what is emblematic of neoconservatism in its particular historical and political context, but they fail to offer deeper insights into what is constitutive of neoconservatism. Addressing this neglected question, this article dislodges neoconservatism from its perceived home in the ‘3Ps’ and ontologically redefines it as a discourse. Adopting a Foucauldian approach of archaeological and genealogical discourse analysis, we trace its discursive formations primarily to two powerful and historically enduring discourses of the American self — virtue and power — and illustrate how these discourses produce a particular type of discursive fusion that is ‘neoconservatism’. We argue that to better appreciate its continued effect on contemporary and future US foreign policy, we need to pay close attention to those seemingly innocuous yet deeply embedded discourses about the US and its place in the world, as well as to the people, policies and principles conventionally associated with neoconservatism.
Practice theory provides important insights into the workings of the Security Council. The contribution is currently limited, however, by the conjecture that practice theory operates on ‘a different analytical plane’ to norm/normative theory. Building on existing critiques, we argue that analysing practices separately from normative positions risks misappropriating competence and reifying practice that is not fit for purpose. This risk is realized in Adler-Nissen and Pouliot’s practice-based account of the Libya crisis. By returning the normative context created by the Responsibility to Protect to the analytical foreground, and by drawing on a pragmatic conception of ‘ethical competence’, we find that pre-reflexive practices uncritically accepted as markers of competence — for example, ‘penholding’ — can contribute to the Council’s failure to act collectively in the face of mass atrocity. Drawing on extensive interview material, we offer an alternative account of the Libya intervention, finding that the practices of the permanent three (France, the UK and the US) did not cultivate the kind of collective consciousness that is required to implement the Responsibility to Protect. This is further illustrated by an account of the Security Council’s failure in Syria, where the permanent three’s insistence on regime change instrumentalized the Council at the expense of Responsibility to Protect-appropriate practice. This changed when elected members became ‘penholders’. Practice theory can facilitate learning processes that help the Council meet its responsibilities, but only through an approach that combines its insights with those of norm/normative theory.
Border deaths have become an established feature of contemporary migratory politics in both Europe and the US. This article examines the similarities and differences in practices of ‘governing migration through death’ across the US–Mexico (Sonoran) and in the EU–North African (Mediterranean) contexts. Instead of taking a conventional comparative analysis of two distinct sites, the article draws on critical scholarship in the field of border studies in order to examine biopolitical, thanatopolitical and necropolitical dynamics of bordering that cross contexts. It argues that these operations of power converge in both European and US bordering practices, specifically through a form of biophysical violence that operates directly on the biological functions of migrating bodies. The article suggests that the establishment of this violence represents a crisis of modern humanism, which becomes implicated in the toleration of such violence through processes of denial, displacement, rejection and compensation. By focusing, in particular, on the ways that the treatment of the dead functions as a means of compensating for (yet not redressing) biophysical violence, the article highlights the deficiencies of contemporary practices of identification and burial, and raises questions about the limitations of contestations that emphasise dignity only to perpetuate a hierarchy of ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ lives. In so doing, the article concludes by suggesting that contemporary ‘migration crises’ are better understood in terms of the crisis of modern humanism, grounded in Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian traditions, which can no longer deny its implication in practices of governing migration through death.
This article reviews the recent Humanitarian Initiative in the nuclear disarmament movement and the associated non-proliferation and disarmament literature. It argues that rather than this initiative being a transformative moment in nuclear politics, as claimed by supporters, it instead fits into a long history of nuclear politics as the politics of ‘rethinking the unthinkable’ and, as such, is located not only within the long-established institutions of international society, as realist critics claim, but also within the long-established and limiting forms of speech of international society. The article questions the limitations of the dominant framing of nuclear weapons as ‘unthinkable’, and claims that focusing on the seemingly trivial matter of the prevalence of cliché in this discourse actually reveals a deeper problem of the limits of this approach. In doing so, the article shows how the problem of standardised, repetitive ways of speaking, reliance on ‘nukespeak’, and dominant tropes of nuclear speech identified in much of the literature is not that of the somehow innate ‘unthinkability’ of nuclear weapons, but that this ‘unthinkability’ and the associated ‘unspeakability’ of the nuclear are rhetorical frames that limit the possibility for political change.
In April 2015, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called on European leaders to respond to the migration and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean by ‘stopping the boats’ in order to prevent further deaths. This suggestion resonated with the European Union Commission’s newly articulated commitment to both enhancing border security and saving lives. This article charts the increasing entanglement of securitisation and humanitarianism in the context of transnational border control and migration management. The analysis traces the global phenomenon of humanitarian border security alongside a series of spatial dislocations and temporal deferrals of ‘the border’ in both European and Australian contexts. While discourses of humanitarian borders operate according to a purportedly universal and therefore borderless logic of ‘saving lives’, the subjectivity of the ‘irregular’ migrant in need of rescue is one that is produced as spatially and temporally exceptional — the imperative is always to act in the here and the now — and therefore knowable, governable and ‘bordered’.
This article offers new theoretical and empirical insights to explain the resilience of US Treasury securities as the world’s premier safe or "risk-free" asset. The standard explanation of resilience emphasizes the relative safety of US Treasuries due to a shortage of safe assets in the global political economy. The analysis here goes beyond the standard explanation to highlight the importance of domestic politics in reinforcing the safe status of US Treasury securities. In particular, the research shows how a formidable "bond" of interests unites domestic and foreign owners of the public debt and works to sustain US power in global finance. Foreigners, who now own roughly half of the US public debt, have something to gain from their domestic counterparts. The top 1% of US households, which dominate domestic ownership of US Treasuries, has considerable political clout, thus alleviating foreign concerns about the creditworthiness of the US federal government. Domestic owners, in turn, benefit from the seemingly insatiable foreign appetite for US Treasury securities. In supplying the US federal government and US households with cheap credit, foreign investors in US Treasuries help to deflect challenges to the top 1% within the wealth and income hierarchy.
This article draws attention to a medium that has escaped the attention of International Relations scholars: comics. Comics are combinations of text and drawings and they come in a variety of formats: as newspaper strips, as stories printed in magazines and as long narratives presented in free-standing books. Comics have been central to how generations of children have encountered foreign places and comics artists have successfully captured public attention, with comics offering explicit engagements with foreign policy events. Theoretically, comics provide a unique combination of text and images through which central questions on the research agenda of International Relations scholars working on visuality, practices and intertextuality can be pursued. Drawing on comics scholarship, this article presents a theoretical framework aimed specifically at analysing comics as international relations. Methodologically, it provides criteria for the selection of comics under study and a case study of three comics engaging the Bosnian War.
This article addresses the question of how spatial difference manifests itself in International Relations discourses in an effort to theorize difference in international politics. In doing so, we focus on the concept of security in particular and demonstrate a paradox in its conceptualization. Despite the aspiration to capture global diversity, contemporary security discourses largely leave out the moment of subjectification in knowledge-construction. Rather, a form of subjectivity construction is promoted in these discourses, which is reliant on the other. In contrast, this article considers the unsynthesizable cognitive void between the self and the other through the work of the Japanese political scientist Maruyama Masao and his basso ostinato concept. By drafting it as a heuristic device to avoid the potential of determinism for which basso ostinato was criticized, we apply it to the concept of comprehensive security with the intention to demonstrate that ostensibly similar concepts can have different meanings in different times and spaces. In doing so, we aim to transcend the resulting misunderstandings that obstruct International Relations scholarship from contributing to what Amitav Acharya calls ‘Global IR’.
The consensus on the doctrine of the ‘responsibility to protect’ has replaced ideas of humanitarian intervention with a new vision of the responsibilities that states have to protect their peoples from the most egregious suffering. The contention of this article is that this is a politics of exceptionalism, whereby power is legitimated by reference to its effectiveness in responding to emergency or crisis. By analysing the doctrine in this way, new light is shed on the debate surrounding the responsibility to protect. First, understanding the doctrine in terms of exceptionalism helps explain the paradox of how the doctrine has been assimilated so readily into institutional and state practice without manifesting any greater commitment to international intervention. Second, understanding these new security practices in terms of exceptionalism allows us to move beyond questions of imperialism. Once understood in terms of exceptionalism, it can be shown that the stakes in the debate on the responsibility to protect are restricted not only to relations between states, but also to relations within them: principles of representative government are to be substituted with paternalist and authoritarian visions of state power.
Contemporary rising powers have often pursued a hesitant and ambiguous foreign-policy and have belied the expectations of potential followers and established powers who would want them to engage more actively in global and regional governance. The existing analytical toolbox of International Relations does not offer suitable concepts to make sense of the widespread phenomenon of states that pursue hesitant, inconsistent courses of action and do not bring to bear their power resources to coherently manage international crises that potentially affect them. A notion that is frequently employed to describe this peculiar type of foreign policy is that of ‘reluctance’, but this concept has not been systematically defined, discussed or theorized. This article aims to introduce the concept of reluctance into the field of International Relations. It develops a conceptualization of reluctance by identifying the concept’s semantic field and discussing how reluctance relates to the similar but distinct notions of exceptionalism, isolationism, under-aggression and under-balancing (concept reconstruction); on that basis, the article outlines the constitutive dimensions of reluctance — hesitation and recalcitrance — and their operationalization (concept building). Several illustrative cases of (non-)reluctant rising powers are used to exemplify the concept structure and to show the analytical usefulness of the concept of reluctance, which refers to a distinct set of phenomena that are not addressed by other concepts in International Relations. An application of the concept allows us to identify policy shifts and differences across issue areas, as well as open up avenues for further research.
The ‘crisis’ of liberal peace has generated considerable debate in International Relations. However, analysis is inhibited by a shared set of spatial, cultural and temporal assumptions that rest on and reproduce a problematic separation between self-evident ‘liberal’ and ‘non-liberal’ worlds, and locates the crisis in presentist terms of the latter’s resistance to the former’s expansion. By contrast, this article argues that efforts to advance liberal rule have always been interwoven with processes of alternative order-making, and, in this way, are actively integral, not external, to the generation of the subjectivities, contestations, violence and social orders that are then apprehended as self-evident obstacles and threats to liberal peace and as characteristic of its periphery. Making visible these intimate relations of co-constitution elided by representations of liberal peace and its crisis requires a long view and an analytical frame that encompasses both liberalism and its others in the world. The argument is developed using a Foucauldian governmentality framework and illustrated with reference to Sri Lanka.
Transparency is an important concept in International Relations. The possibility of realizing transparency in practice operates as a central analytical axis defining distinct positions on core theoretical problems within the field, from the security dilemma to the function of international institutions and beyond. As a political practice, the pursuit of transparent governance is a dominant feature of global politics, promoted by a wide range of actors across a vast range of issue areas, from nuclear proliferation, to internet governance, to the politics of foreign aid. Yet, despite its importance, precisely what transparency means or how the concept is understood is frequently ill-defined by academics and policymakers alike. As a result, the epistemological and ontological underpinnings of approaches to transparency in International Relations often sit in tension with their wider theoretical commitments. This article will examine the three primary understandings of transparency used in International Relations in order to unpack these commitments. It finds that while transparency is often explicitly conceptualized as a property of information, particularly within rationalist scholarship, this understanding rests upon an unarticulated set of sociological assumptions. This analysis suggests that conceptualizing ‘transparency as information’ without a wider sociology of knowledge production is highly problematic, potentially obscuring our ability to recognize transparent practices in global governance. Understanding transparency as dialogue, as a social practice rooted in shared cognitive capacities and epistemic frameworks, provides a firmer analytical ground from which to examine transparency in International Relations.
Despite long-standing allegations of UK involvement in prisoner abuse during counterterrorism operations as part of the US-led ‘war on terror’, a consistent narrative emanating from British government officials is that Britain neither uses, condones nor facilitates torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. We argue that such denials are untenable. We have established beyond reasonable doubt that Britain has been deeply involved in post-9/11 prisoner abuse, and we can now provide the most detailed account to date of the depth of this involvement. We argue that it is possible to identify a peculiarly British approach to torture in the ‘war on terror’, which is particularly well-suited to sustaining a narrative of denial. To explain the nature of UK involvement, we argue that it can be best understood within the context of how law and sovereign power have come to operate during the ‘war on terror’. We turn here to the work of Judith Butler, and explore the role of Britain as a ‘petty sovereign’, operating under the state of exception established by the US executive. UK authorities have not themselves suspended the rule of law so overtly; indeed, they have repeatedly insisted on their commitment to it. Nevertheless, they have been able to construct a rhetorical, legal and policy ‘scaffold’ that has enabled them to demonstrate at least procedural adherence to human rights norms while, at the same time, allowing UK officials to acquiesce in the arbitrary exercise of sovereignty over individuals who are denied any access to appropriate representation or redress in compliance with the rule of law.
A global extinction crisis may threaten the survival of most existing life forms. Influential discourses of ‘existential risk’ suggest that human extinction is a real possibility, while several decades of evidence from conservation biology suggests that the Earth may be entering a ‘sixth mass extinction event’. These conditions threaten the possibilities of survival and security that are central to most branches of International Relations. However, this discipline lacks a framework for addressing (mass) extinction. From notions of ‘nuclear winter’ and ‘omnicide’ to contemporary discourses on catastrophe, International Relations thinking has treated extinction as a superlative of death. This is a profound category mistake: extinction needs to be understood not in the ontic terms of life and death, but rather in the ontological context of be(com)ing and negation. Drawing on the work of theorists of the ‘inhuman’ such as Quentin Meillassoux, Claire Colebrook, Ray Brassier, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Nigel Clark, this article provides a pathway for thinking beyond existing horizons of survival and imagines a profound transformation of International Relations. Specifically, it outlines a mode of cosmopolitics that responds to the element of the inhuman and the forces of extinction. Rather than capitulating to narratives of tragedy, this cosmopolitics would make it possible to think beyond the restrictions of existing norms of ‘humanity’ to embrace an ethics of gratitude and to welcome the possibility of new worlds, even in the face of finitude.
In recent years, the concept of identity has become central to International Relations theory. Opposing rational actor assumptions, constructivist and post-structuralist identity scholarship has argued that preferences and interests are tied to actors’ identities, which, in turn, explain action. While we welcome the attempt to move beyond rationalist and materialist accounts of state action, we argue that identity scholarship conceptualizes identity in methodologically individualist and causal terms. However, understanding identity in this way hinders us from grasping how actors are situated and continually develop within complex networks of social interdependencies. We suggest an approach that draws on processual-relational thinking and figurational sociology, and that shifts analysis from searching for identity to analysing identification processes. Contrary to the notion that identities inform action, we argue that specific sets of identifications are temporarily and incompletely stabilized in decision-making, and do not precede or inform action. To this end, we develop a model for empirical research that makes agency in identification processes visible and apply it to Swiss foreign policy decision-making. We suggest that non-foundationalist research revisit and discuss how identity is conceptualized and used in research, lest it reproduce the pitfalls of rationalist and materialist approaches.
What explains the design and development of funding rules at international organizations? I investigate this question in the context of the United Nations system, which has undergone a dramatic shift in financing. Long associated with mandatory contributions, the United Nations increasingly relies on voluntary resources earmarked by individual donors. Previous studies have investigated the financing puzzle from a behavioral perspective and have found that wealthy donors use voluntary funding to rein in costs and constrain international organization programs. Providing an alternative theoretical approach, I investigate the financing puzzle from an institutional design perspective. I provide original United Nations funding rule data to demonstrate that it is not only funding practices, but also underlying funding rules, that have changed over time. I theorize how states with favorable views of the United Nations that sought to expand its activities — rather than those that desired to constrain it — had incentives to introduce funding rules that offered more flexibility and control to donors. I test the argument with a longitudinal case study of funding rule design and change at United Nations economic development institutions. The article expands the institutional design literature by integrating funding rules as a consequential design component and provides a novel explanation for changes in United Nations financing.
The following article offers a critical engagement with recent economic constructivist scholarship as a means of understanding the nature of the European Union’s ‘market power’. It does so by focusing on the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries, and seeks to explain why — in spite of the European Union’s preponderant market power — the goal of promoting trade liberalisation and regulatory harmonisation through regional Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) ultimately fell short of original ambitions. We highlight the inadequacies of materialist accounts of the European Union’s market power in this case and instead take our cue from the (predominantly) constructivist literature emphasising the role of transnational advocacy coalitions. We argue, however, that the latter do not go far enough in their exploration of the non-material correlates of the European Union’s market power by considering fully its discursive dimension. To address this shortcoming, we draw on Craig Parsons’ distinction between ideational and institutional logics of explanation to understand how the invocation of institutional constraints affects the impact of particular discursive strategies. We argue that, in our specific case, the success or failure of the Economic Partnership Agreements rested not just on the fungibility (or otherwise) of the European Union’s material power or the campaigning of transnational coalitions, but on the congruence between the ideas used by European Union policy actors to justify the Economic Partnership Agreements and the institutional norms associated with the setting in which these ideas were deployed.
The anthropocene poses a set of conceptual challenges for the study of security in the discipline of International Relations. By complicating the distinction between human and nature, the concept of the anthropocene puts into question one of the key organizing logics of upon which much security discourse is built: what would a security look like whose subject was not modern man? This article offers a reading of environmental and ecological approaches to security as two potential avenues for rethinking security in the context of the anthropocene. This is done in order to demonstrate the dominance and centrality of the nature/culture binary for conceptualizing the environment, ecology and security. Such a common philosophical horizon problematizes and undermines the scope for a critical reorientation of security thinking from either perspective. Drawing on R.B.J. Walker’s concept of the politics of escape, the article suggests that in attempting to escape the nature–culture binary, the move to ecology in fact, simultaneously reinscribes and obscures this distinction, thereby limiting the potential of the concept of the anthropocene to offer a critical framework with which to analyse the interplay of nature and culture in contemporary security politics.
The European Union is facing multiple challenges. Departing from mainstream theory, this article adopts a fresh approach to understanding integration. It does so by taking two theoretical steps. The first introduces the structure–agency debate in order to make explicit the relationship between macro-structures, the institutional arrangements at European Union level and agency. The second proposes that the state of integration should be understood as the outcome of contestation between competing hegemonic projects that derive from underlying social processes and that find their primary expression in domestic politics. These two steps facilitate an analysis of the key areas of contestation in the contemporary European Union, illustrated by an exploration of the current crisis in the European Union, and open up the development of an alternative, critical, theory of integration.
This article posits empirical and political reasons for recent ‘micro-moves’ in several contemporary debates, and seeks to further develop them in future International Relations studies. As evidenced by growing trends in studies of practices, emotions and the everyday, there is continuing broad dissatisfaction with grand or structural theory’s value without ‘going down’ to ‘lower levels’ of analysis where structures are enacted and contested. We suggest that empirics of the last 15 years — including the war on terror and the Arab Spring — have pushed scholars into increasingly micropolitical positions and analytical frameworks. Drawing upon insights from Gilles Deleuze, William Connolly and Henri Lefebvre, among others, we argue that attention to three issues — affect, space and time — hold promise to further develop micropolitical perspectives on and in International Relations, particularly on issues of power, identity and change. The article offers empirical illustrations of the analytical purchase of these concepts via discussion of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Arab Spring uprisings.
What is a region and how can we best understand a state’s eligibility for membership in a regional political community? Scholars have sought to answer these questions in terms of geographic proximity and social-psychological identity, but neither concept can accommodate the contestation and change that characterize the social construction of regions. Instead, this article argues that the limits of regions are defined within regional organizations by member states’ governments plus supranational actors deliberating over a common definition of the characteristics that members and potential members are expected to share. The concept of membership norms thus offers powerful insights into how regional communities define who is eligible for membership, how these definitions change over time and the incentives they create for those seeking to promote or block an applicant state. The evolution of the European Union’s membership norms since the 1950s illustrates this argument.
This article attempts to fill a gap in the literature about civilian control by presenting the concept of control from within the military and investigating its determinants. Control from within is the intentional action taken by soldiers tasked with missions with which they disagree in an attempt to affect how the military implements politically based directives. The forms of control from within include restraining the aggressiveness of other soldiers, whistle-blowing, selective and gray refusal to deploy, foot-dragging, collective bargaining about deployments, and documentation and testimonies. By drawing on the cases of the US and Israeli militaries, I argue that the interplay of two variables determines the choice made by soldiers tasked with missions with which they disagree: the level of presence of potentially subversive soldiers belonging to the same social group; and the group’s social status within and outside the military. These variables are strongly affected by the type of manpower system. Under conscription, both variables exert a powerful effect, encouraging the exercising of control from within. In contrast, a volunteer system reduces the influence of the two variables, so control from within is more restricted, and dissatisfied soldiers may favor other forms of action with a limited impact on military policies.
The politics of gay and transgender visibility and representation at the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual televised popular music festival presented to viewers as a contest between European nations, show that processes of interest to Queer International Relations do not just involve states or even international institutions; national and transnational popular geopolitics over ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights’ and ‘Europeanness’ equally constitute the understandings of ‘the international’ with which Queer International Relations is concerned. Building on Cynthia Weber’s reading the persona of the 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst with ‘queer intellectual curiosity’, this article demonstrates that Eurovision shifted from, in the late 1990s, an emerging site of gay and trans visibility to, by 2008–2014, part of a larger discursive circuit taking in international mega-events like the Olympics, international human-rights advocacy, Europe–Russia relations and the politics of state homophobia and transphobia. Contest organisers thus had to take positions — ranging from detachment to celebration — about ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender’ politics in host states and the Eurovision region. The construction of spatio-temporal hierarchies around attitudes to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, however, revealed exclusions that corroborate other critical arguments on the reconfiguration of national and European identities around ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality’.
This article examines the development of Afghanistan’s Environment Law to explore the politics of institutional change in a conflict-affected context. Environment was catapulted to prominence in 2002 when it was included in the agenda for reconstruction under the new transitional government. Subsequent efforts to reconstitute Afghanistan’s environmental institutions culminated in the Environment Law written by the United Nations Environment Programme and other international actors, with input from the Government of Afghanistan. The Environment Law was crafted as a model of best practice, intended to modernize Afghanistan’s legislative foundation. However, it experienced significant content drift during the ratification process. As a result, the Environment Law produced institutions that differed in important ways from those initially proposed. Capitalizing on changes made during ratification, I analyze how actors across governance scales interact to translate development models from international to domestic policy spaces. I draw on both structure- and agent-oriented explanations to argue that changes to the Environment Law reflect attempts to increase structural complementarity between global and local systems of governance and cross-scalar contests over authority in the post/conflict landscape. The data suggest that interactions between domestic and international domains provided an opportunity to challenge institutional meaning and content. Ultimately, exploring how global models are incorporated within local contexts provides explanatory power for understanding institutional development. This is important in conflict studies, where the expansion of security theory to include issues like environment has provided new opportunities for strategic intervention by international actors in managing global conflict and its aftermath.
The European Union has launched its New European Neighbourhood Policy as a reaction to a ‘changing neighbourhood’. A key novelty in the New European Neighbourhood Policy is the special role attributed to gender equality promotion as an important ingredient of Europeanisation. The literature has so far focused on assessing whether and to what extent neighbourhood countries adopt and implement European Union gender equality norms. Bringing together the feminist and postcolonial literature on gender equality promotion and European identity formation, this article resituates the New European Neighbourhood Policy within the broader debate regarding processes of European identity formation and Europe’s relations with Others. We combine the concept of delineating gendered and racialised coding with the concept of contrapuntal reading to analyse key official European Union documents alongside the voices expressing themselves through new (social) media. This allows us to highlight silences and exclusions within New European Neighbourhood Policy narratives, to resituate these narratives in their historical context, and to render visible the diversity of competing and interrelated narratives related to gender equality promotion. We read the recent focus on gender equality promotion in the New European Neighbourhood Policy as an expression of the ambivalence of European Union identity building: at a moment when neighbouring countries move closer to Europe, either adopting the acquis communautaire or going through democratisation processes, they are placed at a spatial and temporal distance outside Europe. Our analysis highlights the persistence of colonial practices of Othering and hierarchical Self–Other definitions that are reproduced through current New European Neighbourhood Policy policies. Yet, we suggest that this moment might also present an opportunity to render visible and take seriously the co-constitutive relationship between the European Union and its Others, which could point to alternative forms of interaction and identity building.
On 15 January 2010, two soldiers killed an unarmed boy in the Afghan village of La Mohammad Kalay before dismembering his body and posing for photographs with his corpse. Although the soldiers were eventually sentenced to prison for their involvement in this attack and two other incidents, very little has been said about the nature of the violence they inflicted on the bodies of their victims. Drawing on the work of the Italian feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, this article will explore the violence inflicted by the so-called Afghan Kill Team, focusing particular attention on the ethical questions posed by a violence that ‘overshoots the elementary goal of taking a life and dedicates itself to destroying the living being as a singular body’ (Cavarero, 2011: 12). I will argue that this level of violence is no longer concerned with questions of life and death, but seeks to destroy the body as body, challenging the ways in which we have traditionally conceptualised the pain and suffering caused by war. This argument will refocus our attention on the constitutive vulnerability of the body, as well as the processes of dehumanisation that leave certain bodies more vulnerable than others.
The turns to pragmatism and practice theory in recent years are indicative of a fragmented discipline searching for the ends of International Relations theory. While diverse and contested, both bring forth conceptual language — habit, habitus, field, or practice — that promises to reorient the field on different grounds, with different implications for thinking about the vocation of International Relations. This article considers the contributions made possible by pragmatism in light of the turn to practices, outlining a "pragmatic International Relations" that is tasked with a political project: constituting the public in an age of global governance. It does so through a reading of Dewey that foregrounds his political commitments to democracy as a form of publicly inclusive inquiry. Rather than severing the normativity inscribed in Dewey’s social theory, this article demonstrates how his political values were productive of his theoretical practice. As such, we argue that Dewey does not dispense with metaphysics in order to attend to political problems, but, instead, locates metaphysics as constitutive of the political problem itself: democracy in the age of expertise.
This article demonstrates how world political binaries (democratic–autocratic, civilized–barbarian, etc.) are materially, as well as ideationally, constructed. By drawing on the analytical sensibilities of Actor-Network Theory, it is shown that differences in the actions, practices and/or behaviours of states usually situated at one or another extreme of socio-political dichotomies are sometimes dependent only on the availability of, and/or global inequalities in, mundane material ‘allies’, such as airplanes, sedatives and military bases. Empirically, the article evidences this claim by constructing a comparative case study of the Argentine torture regime and ‘Death Flights’ programme (c. 1975–1983) and the post-9/11 US-led ‘extraordinary rendition’ programme. By describing the contours of each case in microsociological detail, I suggest that differences in the forms of violence enacted in these two cases (both involving torture but one resulting in death and the other indefinite detention) were not related to the democratic or ‘civilized’ status of the US and the authoritarian or fascist-cum-barbarian status of Argentina (and the subjective motivations that we attribute such binary signifiers), but, rather, to differences in the agencies of the non-human object of the aircraft available in each case. These empirical findings allow the article to affirm the value-added of Actor-Network Theory’s ‘reconstructive’ method in International Relations for: 1) ‘mangling’ power-saturated world political binaries without relying on critical ‘deconstruction’; 2) revealing the ever-present material-semiotic fragility of those dualisms; and 3) unveiling the ideational ‘purifications’ that sustain dichotomies in spite of their often lacking an empirical basis through a refusal to engage with materiality.
‘Food sovereignty’ emerged from grassroots peasant mobilisations, and has been spread globally by a democratically organised social movement, la Vía Campesina. This process has seen food sovereignty influence global political discourse, transform national constitutions and be incorporated into a proposed United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. By examining the role of grassroots actors in the global South in the construction of this emerging global norm, I militate against tendencies of West-centrism and elitism in existing literature on the contemporary diffusion of norms. By also discussing the potential marginalisation of grassroots peasant voices in recent United Nations discussions, I suggest that these elitist and West-centric tendencies may also exist in the norm diffusion process itself.
Despite its prominence in the discourse of international politics, the concept of ‘great power responsibility’ remains largely unmapped in International Relations. Existing accounts tend to focus their analysis at a structural level and do not pay adequate attention to agency and processes of deliberation, negotiation and contestation. Drawing on constructivist insights to extend existing English School scholarship, this article unpacks great power responsibility as a socially constructed and negotiated concept. It develops a typology to further investigate the politics of great power responsibility and focuses specifically on four categories: the location, object, nature and rationale of responsibility (respectively, responsibility by whom, to whom, for what and why). This conceptual framework is applied to China at two important international order-building junctures: institutional construction during World War II and institutional accommodation in the Cold War. In doing so, the article illuminates China’s historical agency and uncovers the processes of both conflict and concordance that have shaped Chinese engagements with the question of great power responsibility.
This article reviews the rich internationalist literature produced by a group of Cambridge Apostles in the interwar years, and evaluates it in the context of contemporary British idealist thought. John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Ralph Hawtrey, Leonard Woolf, Gerald Shove, Hugh Meredith, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, Julian Bell, Dennis Robertson and Hugh Dalton not only wrote extensively on international relations, but were widely read and politically influential. Although they never constituted a formal advocacy group or organization, their views on the First World War, the League of Nations, the British Empire and international trade were significantly similar. They also unanimously opposed conscription when it was introduced in Britain in 1916. Their approach appears original especially as far as its ethical foundation, based on Moore’s Principia Ethica, is concerned. The central role played by economic arguments in their reflections is also pointed out.
International Relations scholars concerned with explaining status-seeking behavior in the international system draw heavily from social comparison theory and its observations that individuals judge their worth, and accordingly derive self-esteem, through social comparisons with others. According to this logic, states become status seekers because, like individuals, they have an innate desire for favorable social status comparisons relative to their peers. Thus, the great power status literature is often framed in the language of accommodation, and adjustment, which presupposes that status insecurities develop from unfavorable social comparisons and can be resolved through relative social improvements. This article challenges these assumptions by noting, as psychology has acknowledged for some time, that individuals use both social and temporal forms of comparison when engaging in self-evaluation. Where social comparisons cause actors to ask "How do I rank relative to my peers?" temporal comparisons cause actors to evaluate how they have improved or declined over time. This article advances a temporal comparison theory of status-seeking behavior, suggesting that many of the signaling problems associated with status insecurity emerge from basic differences in how states evaluate their status, and whether they privilege temporal over social comparisons. The implications are explored through China’s contemporary struggle for status recognition, situating this struggle within the context of China’s civilizational past and ongoing dispute over Taiwan.
Democratic leaders are commonly thought to be more likely than autocrats to select into conflicts where the ex ante probability of victory is high. We construct a novel empirical test of this notion by comparing democracies to various types of autocracies and determining which states are most likely to initiate disputes against relatively strong or weak opponents. Contrary to common belief, we find that democracies are not more selective than most forms of autocracy. Only military regimes demonstrate unique patterns of target selection, with these states being particularly likely to initiate disputes against relatively strong opponents. Our findings suggest a need to further scrutinize the conventional wisdom on democratic target selection and to disaggregate autocratic regimes into more refined categories when doing so.
The participation of non-state actors in multilateral institutions is often portrayed as one way of decreasing the perceived legitimacy deficit in global governance. The literature on non-state actors has identified several ways in which these actors can enhance the legitimacy of intergovernmental organisations and global governance arrangements. Three partially competing normative arguments, or rationales, for the inclusion of non-state actors in international policymaking — functionalism, neocorporatism and democratic pluralism — have been identified. Whereas functionalism highlights the contribution of non-state actors to output legitimacy in terms of expertise, neocorporatism emphasises the inclusion of affected interests, and democratic pluralism claims that non-state actors increase input legitimacy through procedural values. These three normative arguments thus offer different understandings of the motives for the inclusion and representation of non-state actors in international negotiations and diplomacy. Through a single case study of United Nations climate diplomacy, we analyse the extent to which the three rationales for non-state actor inclusion are found in views held by state and non-state actors participating in the annual United Nations climate change conferences. Our results show that different actor groups place varying degrees of emphasis on the different rationales for non-state actor inclusion, even though the neocorporatist rationale remains most favoured overall. We discuss the implications of our findings for the democratic legitimacy of increasing participation of non-state actors in intergovernmental affairs and recent trends in the participation of non-state actors in the international climate change policymaking process.
Cosmopolitans often argue that the international community has a humanitarian responsibility to intervene militarily in order to protect vulnerable individuals from violent threats and to pursue the establishment of a condition of cosmopolitan justice based on the notion of a ‘global rule of law’. The purpose of this article is to argue that many of these cosmopolitan claims are incomplete and untenable on cosmopolitan grounds because they ignore the systemic and chronic structural factors that underwrite the root causes of these humanitarian threats. By way of examining cosmopolitan arguments for humanitarian military intervention and how systemic problems are further ignored in iterations of the Responsibility to Protect, this article suggests that many contemporary cosmopolitan arguments are guilty of focusing too narrowly on justifying a responsibility to respond to the symptoms of crisis versus demanding a similarly robust justification for a responsibility to alleviate persistent structural causes. Although this article recognizes that immediate principles of humanitarian intervention will, at times, be necessary, the article seeks to draw attention to what we are calling principles of Jus ante Bellum (right before war) and to stress that current cosmopolitan arguments about humanitarian intervention will remain insufficient without the incorporation of robust principles of distributive global justice that can provide secure foundations for a more thoroughgoing cosmopolitan condition of public right.
It is commonly argued that political elites in Europe are increasingly acting in accordance with shared norms, identities and practices, thus shaping the character of international cooperation in Europe, not least in the field of security. However, in contrast to such expectations, European security cooperation often displays highly irregular and unpredictable patterns. This article offers a conceptual framework that seeks to make sense of these irregular patterns without refuting the assumption that social institutions in the sphere of international security shape cooperation in fundamental ways. Our point of departure is the observation that European states are embedded in international orders that produce norms and practices that sometimes complement and sometimes compete with each other. We contend that a general situational mechanism traceable through a number of domestic-level factors conditions the propensity of European states to coordinate national security policy. The framework, designed to make sense of the often-irregular patterns of European security cooperation, is illustrated by examples from European states’ response to the 2011 crisis in Libya.
Advocates of a global democratic parliament have expressed hopes that this would not only legitimize global governance in procedural terms, but also bring about more cosmopolitan policies. They point to the European Parliament as an example of a successful real existing democratic parliament beyond the state with cosmopolitan intent. We analyse plenary debates in the United Nations General Assembly and the European Parliament about the issues of climate change, human rights, migration, trade and European integration between 2004 and 2011 to study the nature of opposition to cosmopolitanism within these two assemblies. We find more vocal and better-organized opposition to cosmopolitanism in the European Parliament than in the United Nations General Assembly. We demonstrate the plausibility that direct and more proportional mechanisms of delegation and accountability in the case of the European Parliament account for this observed difference. Should further research confirm these initial findings, advocates of a global democratic parliament may find that an empowered democratic World Parliament would support less cosmopolitan policies than the current United Nations General Assembly.
Human rights scholars and activists have often been criticized for being "principled" rather than "pragmatic" actors in international politics. Rarely, though, is such criticism accompanied by a discussion of what pragmatism means, or what pragmatic action looks like. This article conceptually traces and defines three aspects of pragmatism — philosophical, methodological, and political — that might be applied to the global human rights discourse. The article then outlines how these aspects can help resolve debates over human rights beliefs, scientific inquiry, and political action. I argue, first, that critics of human rights do not adequately develop the concept of human rights pragmatism, and then I make the case using examples that human rights discourse already lends itself toward a pragmatic train of thought. The implication of this analysis is that the "pragmatist" critique of human rights actors is, at minimum, unfounded and, at maximum, a mask for more pessimistic anti-rights positions.
What are the consequences of increasing regime complexity and institutional proliferation on global governance? Does the growing density and overlaps among institutions facilitate or hinder the ability of states to manage transnational threats through cooperation? This article argues that the impact of regime complexity on the effectiveness of cooperation depends not only on the nature of spillovers among overlapping regimes, but also on the cross-institutional strategies of states and non-state actors. I distinguish between two types of strategies through which actors can take advantage of institutional overlaps: (1) "opportunistic" or non-cooperative attempts by states to bypass legal commitments, which tend to undermine the goals of cooperation; and (2) "cooperative" strategies by intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, and other principled actors. These actors also engage in regime shifting, forum linking, and other cross-forum strategies to promote their institutional mandates and normative agendas. To probe the plausibility of these theoretical claims, I focus on the case of the anti-trafficking in persons regime. The overlaps between anti-trafficking laws and the migration, labor, and human rights regimes illustrate the different ways in which intergovernmental organizations and their allies in society can exploit institutional overlaps to promote greater cooperation and expand the regime complex.
What is soft power, and how can we analyse it empirically? The article proposes a social constructivist take on soft power by anchoring it to the concept of collective identity, and by suggesting a set of criteria that can be used to assess whether soft power is present in a relationship between two or more states. It argues that soft power is generated through continuous renegotiation of collective identity. We can assess the weight of a state’s soft power vis-a-vis another state by investigating the extent to which the discursively constructed collective identity projected by the first state is accepted or rejected by different audiences in the second state, and by examining the ability of these audiences to affect the process of foreign policy decision-making. To illustrate this approach, the article applies it to an analysis of Russia’s relationship with Ukraine prior to the 2014 crisis. In the late 2000s–early 2010s, Russia’s dominant identity was increasingly associated with the idea of a ‘Russian world’ — an imagined community based on the markers of the Russian language, the Russian culture and the common glorious past. Despite a significant increase in Moscow’s public diplomacy activities in Ukraine around that time, those efforts did not and could not fundamentally transform the psychological milieu in Moscow’s relationship with Kyiv because the projected identity was inherently incompatible with one of the main identity discourses in Ukraine and was only partially compatible with another.
Academic wisdom assumes that crises precipitate institutional and policy changes in domestic and international politics. However, the relation between crises and policy outcomes is under-theorised. This article conceptualises epistemic coherence as a factor that links crises and their consequences through policy continuity. Crises expose contradictions and inconsistencies, which create uncertainty. Therefore, actors seek to recover the epistemic certainty provided by coherence, which tacitly informs, structures and simplifies actors’ interpretation of reality, even during crisis. For this reason, the role of coherence in policy ideas and institutional rules remains essential to understanding policy continuity. This article illustrates the role of coherence in the policy continuity of the European Neighbourhood Policy in the context of the Arab Spring and the changes in the institutional architecture of European Union foreign policy during 2010–2011.
How can ethics be a militarist practice? This article offers an answer to this question using a study of teaching at Israeli pre-military academies for high-school graduates. It argues that when ethics operates as a practice of subject formation, it is quite possible for it to reinforce the militarist process whereby citizens are turned into soldiers. Based on interviews with teaching staff and participant observation at these academies, this article offers an in-depth analysis of their pedagogy that highlights their increasingly prominent contribution to Israeli militarism. Israeli pre-military academies combine ethics with a programme of military preparation such that military service is presented as an opportunity for individual flourishing and participation in war is imbued with an ideology of ethical soldiering. Given the significance of Israel/Palestine as a theatre of violent conflict, this article argues that this case has wider significance for our understanding of the nature of militarism and of the relationship between ethics and war. It suggests that ethics has become increasingly bound up with militarism, and that there are therefore clear limits to its capacity to constrain the violence of war.
The self-determination of peoples is a fundamental legitimating principle of the international system; it justifies the system’s very existence. Through a vast diachronic corpus and pertinent data sets, this article nevertheless reveals a puzzling decline in the public discourse on, and practice of, self-determination over the last 50 years. I identify and assess four structural explanations for this decline: "lexical change" (replacing self-determination with alternative terms); "silent hegemony" (taking the norm for granted); "reactive rhetoric" (echoing conflicts and new state formation post hoc); and "mission accomplished" (rectifying the incongruence between national boundaries and state borders). Complementing these structural causes with agential reasons, I further suggest that powerful state actors and persuasive academics have sought to "tame" self-determination as both principle and practice, retaining the term but altering its meaning from a source of threat into a resource for containing it. Self-determination, however, has not been eliminated, and taming it may yet prove a pyrrhic victory.
During the past 45 years, nearly 100 national states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. This global diffusion poses a puzzle since capital punishment has long been accepted as the ultimate criminal sanction and its abolition has often been politically unpopular in many parts of the world. Although the literature has provided several possible explanations, the role of human rights international non-governmental organizations in worldwide death penalty abolition has not yet received sustained analytic attention. This article offers the first such analysis by arguing that human rights international non-governmental organizations empower pro-abolition constituencies and influence governments toward abolition by framing capital punishment as a human rights violation and lobbying parliamentarians to repeal death penalty laws. Event history analyses of 158 national states from 1967 to 2010 offer strong support for the theory. Controlling for regime type, regional demonstration effects, the Council of Europe, and other rival factors, this article finds that human rights international non-governmental organizations’ local engagement has strongly significant positive relationships with complete abolition. This finding is highly robust against control variable bias, endogeneity bias, omitted variable bias, model dependence, and the alternative operationalization of control variables and the dependent variable. Furthermore, the Philippines example demonstrates the theory’s plausibility. It provides process-tracing evidence that through human rights framing and legislative lobbying, the national sections and member organizations of such human rights international non-governmental organizations as Amnesty International, the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care, the International Federation of Human Rights, and Caritas Internationalis led Philippine legislators toward complete abolition in 2006.
In the past two decades, scholars have illustrated how important representation is to understanding the dynamics of world politics. However, there is a distinct absence in the literature surrounding how representations of one state by another influence foreign policymaking behaviour. This article fills a gap in knowledge by offering an empirical examination of the role that representation and recognition play. I contribute to these discussions through an examination of the representations evident within the Iran–US relationship. I argue that binary representations of Self and Other inform the identity narratives of each state and how they are recognised. Furthermore, these representations contribute to misrecognition, which creates a feeling of disrespect, exacerbating tensions between Iran and the US as they engage in nuclear negotiations.
Why does realist political advocacy for a more limited national security agenda fail? For nearly two decades, realists in general and Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in particular have publicly lamented an endemic problem of threat inflation in America, culminating in the unnecessary 2003 Iraq War. This article argues that understanding the failure of realist advocacy requires appreciating its roots in the model of the marketplace of ideas, an ironically liberal model of discourse that downplays questions of power. As a corrective, I argue that securitization theory and its framing of security debates as discursive, competitive and ultimately power-laden processes offers substantive insights into understanding realism’s anaemic interventions. Focusing specifically on the advocacy of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in their opposition to the 2003 Iraq War, I examine how powerful processes involving social identity and collective emotion came to be turned against realists by their neoconservative interlocutors. In the final section, I suggest that a common research agenda among realism and securitization scholarship is needed to explore their joint interest in the statecraft of threat construction in order to produce practical, politically relevant knowledge.
The article puts forward a historical institutionalist account of how international organizations are ‘designed.’ I argue that deliberate institutional design is circumscribed by path-dependent power dynamics within international organizations. Power-driven path dependence is used to explain that organizations lock in and reinforce historical privileges of international organization subunits. Early winners in the international organization lock in their privileges with the support of member-state allies, and reap increasing returns from their positions over rounds of reform. They thereby amplify features of international organization design that reformers would otherwise change later on. The argument is illustrated with a historical case study of the World Health Organization’s unique federal design, which grants the regional offices near autonomy from headquarter oversight. Vocal criticisms of the World Health Organization’s regionalization and repeated centralization attempts notwithstanding, the powers of the regions have increased over time. The case study retraces the path-dependent struggles over the World Health Organization’s federal design since its creation in the 1940s. While the literature on international organizations tends to reserve inertia and path dependence for constructivist analysis, this article offers a rationalist account of inertia in international institutions.
This article examines the process of consensus formation by the international community regarding how to confront the problem of trafficking in persons. We analyze the corpus of United Nations General Assembly Third Committee resolutions to show that: (1) consensus around the issue of how to confront trafficking in persons has increased over time; and (2) the formation of this consensus depends upon how the issue is framed. We test our argument by examining the characteristics of resolutions’ sponsors and discursive framing concepts such as crime, human rights, and the strength of enforcement language. We conclude that the consensus-formation process in international relations is more aptly described as one of ‘accommodation’ through issue linkage than a process of persuasion.
Why do countries liberalize capital controls? The literature identifies a range of possible reasons. Yet, despite considerable advances, the impact of international non-governmental organizations has yet to be considered. In fact, surprisingly, systematic analysis of the role of international non-governmental organizations in the diffusion of economic openness, financial or otherwise, has not been pursued previously. We offer the first such analysis by advancing the idea of ‘climatic mimesis,’ which refers to the cultural climate for policymaking that results from country ties to international non-governmental organizations. International non-governmental organizations shape capital account regulation by altering the cultural climate in a country such that liberalization becomes a more problematic policy choice. Our statistical analysis of data from developing countries reveals that international non-governmental organization ties inhibited liberalization, as did relatively high public debt and concentrated domestic banking sectors. The presence of an International Monetary Fund program and liberalization by economic competitors encouraged it. We suggest that these findings have important implications for understanding the potential for convergence and divergence in an era of globalization.
This article analyses the phenomenon of rising powers from a historical materialist perspective. It (1) elaborates the key concepts of historical structures of world order, state–society complexes and transnational class formation, and (2) applies them to Brazil, Russia, India, China and other so-called ‘rising powers’ to account for the nature and extent of the challenge they pose to the existing institutions of global governance. A double argument is advanced: first, the integration of rising powers into the historical structure of global capitalism has reduced traditional sources of great power conflict, and made rising powers heavily dependent on the existing institutional framework established by the liberal West. This facilitates their integration into the existing governance order. However, within the limits of the existing order, two factors lend a heartland–contender cleavage to the politics of global governance: the rising powers’ relatively more statist, less market-driven forms of state, and their subsequent failure to be integrated into emergent transnational capitalist class structures. Consequently, it is not the global governance order itself, but its most liberal features, that are contested by rising powers. The result is that, in contrast to realist pessimism and liberal optimism, the rise of new powers is leading to a hybrid governance order that is both transnationally integrated and less liberal.
Senior ‘American School’ International Relations theorists — John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, Robert Keohane, and others — have evinced a growing concern about a rise of technocratic hypothesis-testing, and a parallel decline in grand theory. We share many of their concerns; yet, we also find such discussions deeply unsatisfying. Grand theory descends into ‘technocracy’ because of reifying and depoliticizing processes deeply woven into both thought and the academic vocation. While confronting such processes is possible, these same scholars are among those who dismiss — and have long dismissed — the key intellectual moves that would sustain such a confrontation. That infelicitous combination, we argue, is unlikely to produce a renaissance of grand theory; indeed, past precedent suggests that it will further stifle it. To suggest how these theorists might better revalorize grand theory, we develop disciplinary-historical case studies around two key research programs: neo-functionalism and structural liberalism. Both were the product of an abiding commitment to grand theory; yet, both fell into reified and depoliticized stances that left little space for such theory. Breaking that cycle of reification and depoliticization might yet be possible; but it will require thinking beyond the call for ‘more grand theory.’
In this critical comment on the global democracy debate, I take stock of contemporary proposals for democratizing global governance. In the first part of the article, I show that, empirically, many international institutions are now evaluated in terms of their democratic credentials. At the same time, the notions of democracy that underpin such evaluations are often very formalistic. They focus on granting access to civil society organizations, making policy-relevant documents available online or establishing global parliamentary assemblies to give citizens a voice in the decision-making of international organizations. In the second part, I challenge this focus on formal procedures and argue that a normatively persuasive conception of global democracy would shift our focus to areas such as health, education and subsistence. Contrary to much contemporary thinking about global democracy, I thus defend the view that the institutions we have are sufficiently democratic. What is needed are not better procedures, but investments that help the weaker members of global society to make effective use of the democracy-relevant institutions that exist in contemporary international politics.
Scholars increasingly acknowledge that international institutions interact with each other, especially across issue areas such as trade and environment. However, scholars continue to dispute whether, and under what conditions, such regime interplay has positive or negative impacts on the effectiveness of international institutions. Existing scholarship debates whether international regimes may be compromised by inconsistencies, or whether enhanced reputational benefits make governments more likely to uphold commitments across components of a regime complex. This article examines how institutional complexity affects state behavior. Specifically, it analyzes how governments respond to regime inconsistency, and whether they continue adhering to their commitments in the absence of material or sociological non-compliance costs. The study tracks how state preferences and behavior changed over time when exposed to inconsistent international legal commitments regarding trade and regulatory rights in the South Pacific swordfish fishery. In this case, both World Trade Organization and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea rules were at stake, and both dispute settlement forums accepted jurisdiction over the case. Nonetheless, Chile and the European Community resorted to negotiation outside of — but still bounded by — these established rules. Thus, this study finds that when multiple regimes regulate a particular situation, bargaining continues to take place within the boundaries established by those rules.
The European Commission has promised to provide African countries with budget support to facilitate poverty eradication and the broader achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, European Union officials state that modern ‘poverty reduction’ budget support aligns with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development norms of country-ownership. In particular, they assure recipients that this aid modality will not be used to coerce African states to pursue second-generation liberalisation measures. Accordingly, European Union actors in the Post-Washington Consensus appear to have learned the lessons of structural adjustment reforms undertaken in the 1980s and 1990s, opting now to promote untied aid mechanisms. This article argues, however, that European Union budget support is still very much tied to premature trade opening and economic liberalisation in Africa. Examining the cases of Tunisia, Ghana and Uganda, it points to the strategic utilisation of budget aid as a means of donor leverage for free market reform detrimental to the needs of poorer citizens. In this context, the article argues that Nkrumah’s concept of ‘neo-colonial’ states bears much significance for a contemporary evaluation of European Union budget support to Africa.
Over the last decade, Queer Studies have become Global Queer Studies, generating significant insights into key international political processes. Yet, the transformation from Queer to Global Queer has left the discipline of International Relations largely unaffected, which begs the question: if Queer Studies has gone global, why has the discipline of International Relations not gone somewhat queer? Or, to put it in Martin Wight’s provocative terms, why is there no Queer International Theory? This article claims that the presumed non-existence of Queer International Theory is an effect of how the discipline of International Relations combines homologization, figuration, and gentrification to code various types of theory as failures in order to manage the conduct of international theorizing in all its forms. This means there are generalizable lessons to be drawn from how the discipline categorizes Queer International Theory out of existence to bring a specific understanding of International Relations into existence.
In premodern East Asia, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and China rarely experienced anything like the type of religious violence that existed for centuries in historical Europe, despite having vibrant religious traditions such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism, and numerous folk religions. How do we explain a region in which religion was generally not a part of the explanation for war and rebellion? A unique data set of over 950 entries of Chinese and Korean violence over a 473-year span allows granular measurement of religious violence. I argue that the inclusivist religions of historical East Asia did not easily lend themselves to appropriation by political leaders as a means of differentiating groups or justifying violence. Addressing the paucity of religious war in historical East Asia is theoretically important because it challenges a large body of scholarly literature that finds a universal causal relationship between religion and war that is empirically derived mainly from the experience of only Christianity and Islam. In contrast, it may be that certain types of religious traditions are less amenable to mass mobilization for violence. Moving beyond Christianity and Islam to include East Asian religious traditions promises both to address a potentially serious issue of selection bias and also to be a rich field for theorizing about the relationship between religion and war.
Approaching the centenary of its establishment as a formal discipline, International Relations today challenges the ahistorical and aspatial frameworks advanced by the theories of earlier luminaries. Yet, despite a burgeoning body of literature built on the transdisciplinary efforts bridging International Relations and its long-separated nomothetic relatives, the new and emerging conceptual frameworks have not been able to effectively overcome the challenge posed by the ‘non-West’. The recent wave of international historical sociology has highlighted possible trajectories to problematise the myopic and unipolar conceptions of the international system; however, the question of Eurocentrism still lingers in the developing research programmes. This article interjects into the ongoing historical materialist debate in international historical sociology by: (1) conceptually and empirically challenging the rigid boundaries of the extant approaches; and (2) critically assessing the postulations of recent theorising on ‘the international’, capitalist states-system/geopolitics and uneven and combined development. While the significance of the present contributions in international historical sociology should not be understated, it is argued that the ‘Eurocentric cage’ still occupies a dominant ontological position which essentially silences ‘connected histories’ and conceals the role of inter-societal relations in the making of the modern states-system and capitalist geopolitics.
The term ‘abnormal’ has frequently been used to describe post-war Japan. Together with the idea that the country will, or should have to, ‘normalise’ its foreign and security policy, it has been reproduced in both academia and Japanese society. Why is Japan branded as ‘abnormal’, and from where does the desire to ‘normalise’ it come? Drawing on a relational concept of identity, and the distinction between norm and exception, this article argues that the ‘abnormality–normalisation nexus’ can be understood in terms of three identity-producing processes: (1) the process whereby the Japanese Self is socialised in US/‘Western’ norms, ultimately constructing it as an Other in the international system; (2) the process whereby the Japanese Self imagines itself as ‘legitimately exceptional’ (what is called ‘exceptionalisation’), but also ‘illegitimately abnormal’ — both of which are epitomised by Japan’s ‘pacifism’; and (3) the process whereby both the Self’s ‘negative abnormality’ and China/Asia are securitised in attempts to realise a more ‘normal’ (or super-normal) Japanese Self. How Japan is inter subjectively constructed on a scale between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ enables and constrains action. Although Japan has not remilitarised nearly as much in the 2000s as is often claimed, these processes might very well forebode an exceptional decision to become ‘normal’ and therefore more significant steps towards remilitarisation.
When international human rights tribunals like the European Court of Human Rights find states responsible for human rights abuses, they ask governments to pay reparation to the victims, engage in symbolic measures, and enact the policy changes necessary to ensure that the violations do not recur. This article considers the conditions under which states comply with these rulings, especially when the tribunals are unable and often unwilling to provide strict enforcement. This article extends current theories about the domestic politics of compliance with international human rights law to the case of the European Court of Human Rights. This article analyzes a new, hand-coded data set on states’ compliance with over 1000 discrete obligations handed down by the European Court of Human Rights that ask states to change their human rights policies. The results of these analyses suggest that robust domestic institutions, particularly executive constraints, are the key to compliance with the European Court of Human Rights. When domestic institutions enforce the Court’s rulings, the results can be significant changes in states’ human rights policies and practices.
Over the past decade, diaspora mobilization has become of increasing interest to International Relations scholars who study terrorism, civil wars and transnational social movements and networks. Nevertheless, an important area remains under-researched: conditions, causal mechanisms and processes of diaspora mobilization vis-a-vis emerging states, especially in a comparative perspective. This article asks why diaspora entrepreneurs in liberal states pursue the sovereignty goals of their original homelands through the institutional channels of their host-states, through transnational channels or use a dual-pronged approach. Empirically, the article focuses on a comparison between the Albanian, Armenian and Palestinian diasporas in the UK and their links to the emerging states of Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh and Palestine. Two variables act together to explain differences in mobilization patterns: the host-state’s foreign policy stance towards the homeland’s sovereignty goal; and diaspora positionality, the relative power diaspora entrepreneurs perceive as deriving from their social positions in a transnational space between host-state and homeland. If a host-state’s foreign policy stance is closed towards the sovereignty goal, but diaspora entrepreneurs experience their positionality as relatively strong vis-a-vis the host-state, they are more likely to mobilize through host-state channels, as in the Armenian case. If the foreign policy stance is closed towards the sovereignty goal, but the diaspora positionality is weak, activists are more likely to pursue transnational channels, as in the Palestinian case. If the foreign policy stance is open towards the sovereignty goal, but the diaspora positionality is weak, entrepreneurs are likely to engage with both channels, as in the Albanian case.
In recent years, a revisionist history of international relations theory has generated a complex and nuanced picture of classical realism. In doing so, it has also contributed, more often than not, to a normative rehabilitation of realism. Disciplinary historians, however, have been remarkably silent about the causes of their collective bias. This article explores the paradox of a disciplinary history that has often mobilized ‘anti-whig’ arguments in its battle against the potted history of ‘great debates,’ yet only to pursue a not-so-covert presentist agenda. It argues that the revisionist history of international relations is itself part of the realist tradition, and that from its early formulation by Herbert Butterfield to its current deployment in disciplinary history, the anti-whig argument has seamlessly woven together a vision of history and a Christian-realist vision of politics. I suggest that the entanglement between realism and the historicist rejection of rationalist philosophies of history has the potential of fundamentally renewing our understanding of realism. By the same token, recovering the elective affinities between realism and historicism casts under a new light current debates about the relationship between realism and the Enlightenment since it suggests that realism was essentially a form of counter-Enlightenment.
During the final quarter of the 20th century, the democratic peace thesis — the idea that democracies do not fight each other — moved to the centre of scholarly debate throughout the Western world. Much of this work traces its origins to the European Enlightenment, focusing especially on Immanuel Kant. Yet this narrative ignores earlier 20th-century debates about the possibilities of global peace, and the role of democracy within them. In this article, I analyse some prominent, but now largely forgotten, strands of political thinking in the United States and Britain during the first half of the 20th century. They form an important part of the genealogy of the democratic peace thesis. I start by delineating four types of argument about peace that were popular in the 19th century: liberal-systemic, radical-liberal, socialist and republican. I then introduce two other modes of argument that circulated at the turn of the 20th century: the ‘war thesis’ (the idea that democracies are war-prone) and the ‘empire peace thesis’ (the argument that only imperial states are capable of assuring perpetual peace). I follow this with a discussion of racial utopianism — the claim that the unification of the Anglo-Saxons could eliminate war, securing peace and justice on earth. This white supremacist vision was a call for the racial pacification of the globe.
The War on Terror has posed a difficult challenge for proponents of cosmopolitanism, through its invocation of cosmopolitan-like discourse, focused on emancipation, democracy promotion and the protection of human rights, in support of the controversial practices of warfighting and counterinsurgency, which sit uneasily with a cosmopolitan ethical position. More recently, the 2011 intervention in Libya has again highlighted the persistence of this militarized form of cosmopolitan practice with very limited reflection on the congruence between rhetoric and appropriate practice.
This article argues that these contradictions should not necessitate a rejection of cosmopolitanism, but rather a critical rethinking of how cosmopolitan-informed policies are played out in practice. Proponents of cosmopolitanism must be aware that they do not have a monopoly on the use of cosmopolitan discourse and that it can be, and has been, used to legitimate practices which have not reflected what cosmopolitan scholars may have envisaged in theory. To address this, the article advances an idea of practical cosmopolitanism, one which is self-reflective, critically attuned to the practice of cosmopolitanism and focused on the experience of cosmopolitan-informed policies by the intended beneficiaries.
The concept of soft power occupies a prominent place in International Relations, foreign policy, and security studies. Primarily developed by Joseph S. Nye, the concept is typically drawn upon to emphasize the more intangible dimensions of power in a field long dominated by overtly material (i.e. military) power. Recently, some scholars have reframed soft power — specifically the key notion of attraction — as a narrative and linguistic process. This literature, however, has downplayed some of the other deep-seated underpinnings of soft power, which this article argues lie in the dynamics of affect. Building upon the International Relations affect and aesthetics literatures, this article develops the concept of soft power as rooted in the political dynamics of emotion and introduces the concept of affective investment. The attraction of soft power stems not only from its cultural influence or narrative construction, but more fundamentally from audiences’ affective investments in the images of identity that it produces. The empirical import of these ideas is offered in an analysis of the construction of American attraction in the war on terror.
How does power work in practice? Much of the ‘stuff’ that state agents and other international actors do, on an everyday basis, remains impenetrable to existing International Relations theory. This is unfortunate, as the everyday performance of international practices actually helps shape world policy outcomes. In this article, we develop a framework to grasp the concrete workings of power in international politics. The notion of ‘emergent power’ bridges two different understandings of power: as capability or relation. Emergent power refers to the generation and deployment of endogenous resources — social skills and competences — generated in particular practices. The framework is illustrated with an in-depth analysis of the multilateral diplomatic process that led to the 2011 international intervention in Libya. Through a detailed account of the negotiations at the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the European Union, the article demonstrates how, in practice, state representatives translate their skills into actual influence and generate a power politics that eschews structural analysis. We argue that seemingly trivial struggles over diplomatic competence within these three multilateral organizations played a crucial role in the intervention in Libya. A focus on practice resituates existing approaches to power and influence in International Relations, demonstrating that, in practice, power also emerges locally from social contexts.
The Obama administration’s initial ambivalence toward democratic revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 points to a central puzzle in US foreign policy. In some countries, during some periods, America promotes liberal democracy; in other countries and periods, it tolerates or even supports authoritarianism. Why the variation? We focus on discrete decisions by a US President to retain a dictator or instead press for democracy in a client state S. Two conditions must be satisfied for a President to do the latter. (1) An exogenous domestic crisis must threaten S’s authoritarian regime. (2) The US domestic model of free-market liberal democracy must face no credible alternative in S’s region as a route to national development and security. A credible alternative model (e.g. communism or Islamism) threatens US interests by making dissenting elites in S more hostile to US hegemony and more accepting of the hegemony of America’s security rivals; that in turn makes free elections in S riskier for Washington. But when conditions (1) and (2) coincide, a new bargain emerges: S’s elites, now assenting to the US model, pledge to participate in the US-sponsored regional order, and Washington presses S’s regime into democratizing. We test our argument against two cases involving relations between the US and the Philippines, an authoritarian client until 1986. In a 1978 crisis, communism’s high credibility in Southeast Asia forced Jimmy Carter to continue supporting the Marcos dictatorship. In a 1985–86 crisis, communism’s lack of credibility allowed Ronald Reagan to drop Marcos and permit democracy.
Norm diffusion theorists have advanced our understanding of how ‘norms emerge, spread and become internalized.’ Although this literature and especially the norm life cycle model is based on a constructivist ontology that gives equal weight to agency and structure, one can make out ‘a tendency in this literature to erase’ agency from norm diffusion narratives. This article suggests that the ‘invisibilization’ of agency stems from two mutually reinforcing scholarly practices. For one, insufficient attention is paid to the metaphors describing norm propagation (diffusion, cascade, life cycle, etc.). These metaphors are frequently employed in ways that point to mechanistic and automatized processes of ‘norm diffusion.’ Secondly, norms are often placed in the subject position in sentences. Although uncontroversial in terms of syntax, this mode of writing leads to narrative structures in which norms function as agents. Rather than identifying actual actors, the norm diffusion literature suggests that norms emerge, norms diffuse, and norms cascade. These semantics create an ‘illusion of agency’ without accounting for the actual processes through which norms are articulated, propagated, contested, adapted, adopted, or rejected. Norm diffusion research subsequently comes to be closely associated with self-actionist modes of thinking, which focuses research on intrinsic qualities of norms, rather than on socially embedded agency and power relations central to processes of diffusing norms. Being more attentive to metaphors and syntax will be instrumental in moving the literature from a misplaced focus on norm diffusion to a focus on the underlying power relations of agential norm politics.
Closely associated with China’s growing prominence in international politics are discussions about how to understand Chinese history, and how such perspectives inform the way a stronger China may relate to the rest of the world. This article examines two narratives as cases, and considers how they fit against more careful historical scholarship. The first is the nationalist narrative dealing with Qing and Republican history, and the second is the narrative on the Chinese world order. Analyses of Chinese nationalism tend to see a more powerful China as being more assertive internationally, based in part on a belief in the need to address and overcome past wrongs. Studies of historical regional systems in Asia point to the role that a peaceful ‘Confucian’ ethos played in sustaining a stable Chinese-led order, and highlight the promise it holds for checking regional and international tensions. The two perspectives create an obvious tension when trying to understand China’s rise, which can suggest that using historical viewpoints to understand contemporary developments may be doomed to incoherence. This article argues that difficulties in applying knowledge of the past to analyses of China’s role in contemporary world politics indicate a relative inattentiveness to Chinese and Asian history. It illustrates how the nature of China’s rise may be more contingent on the external environment that it faces than popular received wisdom may indicate. The article suggests that a more extensive engagement with historical research and historiography can augment and enrich attempts to appreciate the context surrounding China’s rise.
How can democracy best be pursued and promoted in the existing global system? In this article, I propose a novel suggestion: democratization should occur at the level of international regime complexity. Because each issue-area of world politics is distinct, we require tailor-made (as opposed to one-size-fits-all) responses to the global democratic deficit. I conceptualize global democracy as an ongoing process of democratization in which a set of core normative values are more or less satisfied. I explicate equal participation, accountability, and institutional revisability as those key standards. I argue that the democratization of regime complexes should occur across two distinct planes: (1) the realm of multilateral negotiations; and (2) institutional forms of democratic experimentalism between rule-makers and rule-takers. I evaluate and defend the potential of this argument by analyzing the intellectual property rights regime complex. Because intellectual property rights represent a ‘tough case’ for global democrats, we should be optimistic about the democratization of alternative regime complexes.
The main question raised by the notion of a global ethic of care is one of how care is to be extended into ever larger spaces. Is it possible to go beyond conventions that attempt to limit harm to extending care, even to those who pose a potential threat of harm? The article begins with an analysis of one prominent, but potentially problematic, argument by Avishai Margalit about why the notion of a specifically global ethic of care is difficult in practice. Like the feminist arguments for a global ethic of care, Margait highlights the importance of the particular or specific other, but also highlights the problem that care for the specific other - and identification of that other - is exclusionary. While his discussion of the potential for a global memory, based on the Holocaust, should provide a way out of the problem, the case of Israel/Palestine reveals a paradox in so far as the memory of the Holocaust has tended to block out the memory of Al Nakba (the catastrophe), the more particularized memory of Palestinians. The second section moves to an exploration of memory, identity and care as they relate to Israel/Palestine. Having revealed the paradox, the third section explores the feminist argument about an ethic of care in more depth, asking to what extent it provides a way out of the paradox.
What role does ideational change play in norm emergence? While there has been some attention to changes in the application of norms, most scholars refer to the ideas that are associated with a norm’s practice as being fixed. I argue that ideational change is a causal mechanism that facilitates norm emergence. In particular, I propose three types of content change that capture changes in the ideas associated with the goals expected to be attained by the application of the norm (‘logic of consequences’), with its morality (‘logic of appropriateness’), and with its relations with similar or alternative practices (‘specification’). These changes in the rational and moral reasoning and argumentation that frame the practice that is associated with an emerging norm are likely to make this practice congruent with more contexts and appealing for more states. To illustrate the content change proposition, this article traces the emergence of the international norm of truth and reconciliation commissions. In the debates that followed the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, truth and reconciliation commissions shifted from being seen as a political compromise to being regarded as a ‘holistic’ tool for social and political reconstruction and came to be associated with multiple democratizing effects. Truth and reconciliation commissions also shifted from being the ‘weaker alternative’ to trials to a practice that is morally equal and complementary to the judicial option. Taken as a whole, these changes in the expected utility, morality, and specification of truth and reconciliation commissions facilitated their emergence and consequent institutionalization as an international norm.
Building on Bourdieu’s social theory, this article shows how powerful agents are able to challenge deeply engrained assumptions about the value of nuclear weapons. To illustrate the value of a Bourdieu-inspired analysis in the field of nuclear weapons, we apply his thinking tools of field, symbolic capital and doxa to the recent plea for nuclear disarmament by the US elder statesmen Shultz, Perry, Kissinger and Nunn. We analyse how the four revitalized the topic of nuclear disarmament, moving it from the fringes of peace research and grass-roots advocacy to the mainstream of academic research and politics. We argue that the historical context, the high symbolic capital of Shultz and his colleagues, and an appealing narrative that draws on commonplace understandings made their plea resonate with security elites.
When surveying the literature on cosmopolitan thought, it is common to see cosmopolitans allude to theoretical, historical and practical links between Immanuel Kant’s idea for a cosmopolitan federation and the formulation of the European Union. However, this relationship between Kant and ‘Kant’s Europe’ remains a rather underdeveloped assumption and there is compelling exegetical and practical evidence to suggest that this relationship is not as robust as is generally assumed. In response, this article explores the link between Kant’s vision for a cosmopolitan federation and its consanguinity with the formation and practice of the European Union. By doing so, it will be argued that a link between Kant and the European Union can only be reasonably claimed to exist at the level of Kant’s first two Definitive Articles and that the European Union remains rather impoverished with regard to Kant’s more radical concept of cosmopolitan right.
Despite the transformative potential of the ‘New Wars’ paradigm, what might be labeled the ‘first generation’ of scholarship has been subject to a range of cross-disciplinary conceptual and empirical challenges that have called into question many of its key findings. While there is much that is valid in these critiques of the New Wars thesis, ultimately it is premature to conclude that they have fatally undermined the New Wars paradigm as a heuristically useful framework for inquiring into the (changing) character of violent political conflict. All of this suggests that what is needed now is not the abandonment of the New Wars paradigm, but a longer-term historical perspective that can help us avoid many of the conceptual errors that plague the extant literature.
When and under what conditions do norms and rules change? Dominant conceptions of institutional change in International Relations theory are based on the idea that it is the result of a shift in power: new actors become able to impose their vision on the world. However, the source of change need not be the power or preferences of actors in society, but could come from the internal dynamics of the rule system governing these actors. This article develops recent research in this area by linking Sandholtz’s model of norm change to recent dynamic institutionalist work and exploring and specifying particular mechanisms, or types of tensions, in rule systems that produce change. Institutions and complexes of rules exhibit rule tensions: inconsistencies, ambiguities, and inadequacies that can lead to disputes over the application of the rules. Actors then have to solve problems or disputes over rule interpretation. Change can thus occur without the introduction of new actors or a shift in the power of existing actors. I apply these ideas to a significant change in the rules of war in the early 20th century: the shift from the rule ‘to the victor go the spoils’ to the Stimson Doctrine, or the rule that states should not profit from aggression.
Methods have increasingly been placed at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in International Relations (IR) and social sciences more generally. This article explores the role of methods in IR and argues that methods can be part of a critical project if reconceptualized away from neutral techniques of organizing empirical material and research design. It proposes a two-pronged reconceptualization of critical methods as devices which enact worlds and acts which disrupt particular worlds. Developing this conceptualization allows us to foreground questions of knowledge and politics as stakes of method and methodology rather than exclusively of ontology, epistemology or theory. It also allows us to move away from the dominance of scientificity (and its weaker versions of systematicity and rigour) to understand methods as less pure, less formal, messier and more experimental, carrying substantive political visions.
International law on children’s rights, in important ways, usurps state authority over the ideology of childhood, establishing complicated and exacting standards that all states should adopt. The international community’s enshrinement of children as rights-holders and consolidation of power over the boundaries and standards of childhood mirrors international consolidation of authority over human rights in general after World War II, as the international community increasingly became the arbiter of acceptable treatment of citizens by states. In this paper, I argue that a globalized model of childhood that emerged after World War II was important to the development of the international system, serving to consolidate power and legitimize international institutions and order. I further examine the growth of this globalized model of childhood, one codified today in international law and developed primarily in Europe and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and diffused from these points of origin throughout the world. The paper uses the development of domestic and international law forbidding the death penalty for child offenders as a point of entry into the study of childhood, children’s rights and the international system. It investigates the mechanisms of diffusion for the norm against the child death penalty and identifies three principal mechanisms of norm diffusion based on the findings of case studies and their types of law; colonial influence; temporal period of abolition; and participation in international legal regimes and institutions.
The crisis in Darfur led to one of the most powerful advocacy campaigns in recent US history. Responding to intense political pressures from this campaign, the US engaged Sudan in a heated public confrontation, increasingly echoing the rhetoric of an advocacy campaign that was surprisingly indifferent to realities on the ground in Darfur. This article examines how the exceptional mobilization around Darfur affected US policy and diplomatic outcomes, using the case to explore larger theoretical questions around deception and truthfulness in International Relations. There was a curious disconnect between the exceptionally strong language US leaders used during the crisis, and the failure of these public claims, promises and threats to achieve the desired diplomatic outcomes. Such strong language should have bolstered US arguments to persuade allies to support measures against Sudan, given the US bargaining leverage with Sudan, and opened opportunities for activists to rhetorically entrap US officials into defending the norms they publicly invoked. Instead, I argue that US leaders bullshitted their way through the crisis in response to advocacy and the demands it generated. Far from being a harmless form of moral posturing, this complicated US diplomatic efforts and undermined the prospects for a political solution in Darfur.
What factors influence the faithfulness of international organizations (IOs) to mandates assigned to them by member states? Although recent literature treats international organization agents as autonomous actors in global politics, most work continues to treat the bureaucracy of an international organization as a unitary actor. I argue that the unitary actor assumption limits our ability to assess how internal factors such as fragmentation influence agent faithfulness. When we conceive of international organization bureaucracies as collective agents — those including more than one bureaucratic actor and subject to internal fragmentation — international organization faithfulness can be more fully explained. Specifically, fragmentation limits faithfulness by inhibiting the effectiveness of principals’ control mechanisms (i.e. oversight and agent screening and sanctioning). These arguments are illustrated using a case study of the World Health Organization and its efforts to improve health systems between 1982 and 2008.
This article turns existing theories of European integration on their head, exploring the conditions under which they would predict that the European Union will disintegrate, and assessing to what extent these conditions currently exist. It argues that these theories, especially the most ‘optimistic’ ones, have an insufficiently comparative inter-spatial as well as inter-temporal focus. Combining insights from domestic politics approaches to international relations and hegemonic stability theories, it suggests that the future of European integration and the European Union is more contingent than most integration theories allow. First, they do not take sufficient account of the role of domestic politics in the member states, in many of which the last decade has witnessed a major upsurge of ‘anti-European’ political attitudes and movements. Second, they overlook the extent to which Europe’s uniquely high level of political integration depends on the engagement and support of the region’s economically most powerful ‘semi-hegemonic’ state, Germany. Even though a fundamental reorientation of German European policy at the present time seems unlikely, it is not inconceivable. The European Union has confronted and survived many crises in the past — but has never had to confront a crisis ‘made in Germany’. The European Union’s current crisis is symptomatic of a broader crisis or malaise of regional and international multilateralism.
This article investigates the theoretical added-value of critical realist incursions into International Relations constructivism. While constructivism focuses on providing multi-causal explanations, its conceptual horizon and subsequent methodological framework fundamentally obscure and limit the opportunity to conceptualize social dialectic and multi-causality in world politics. In this respect, a critical realist meta-theory can provide constructivism with a greatly expanded conceptual framework that transcends material–ideational divisions, and a framework that is able to envision more clearly the process of social dialectic. Second, critical realism affords a methodological diversity that can withstand simultaneous constructivist investigations into the material, agential, ideational, or structural. Using the synthesis of critical realism and constructivism, I illustrate by way of example by employing Pakistan’s participation in the ‘war on terror’ as a case study. While constructivism can show that Pakistan’s role in the war on terror was preceded by a legitimizing narrative, it is a critical realist depth analysis that sheds new light on how a complex social reality was achieved through the convergence of multi-causal explanatory factors.
The social theoretic turn inaugurated under the rise of constructivism in International Relations has, among other themes, created a much-enlarged space for treating norms as efficacious explanatory variables in analyses of world politics. In this article, I reconstruct mainstream constructivists’ inclinations toward what I argue are sociological accounts of norms, in which the question of the latter’s justification is comprehensively sidelined. I initially show how constructivists’ strategy of delineating their approaches from Critical Theory and post-structural analyses sustains social theoretic commitments, which compound this problem. In the second part of the article, I focus on Richard Price’s programmatic attempt to reconcile the constructivist achievements in empirical research on the efficacy of norms with normative theorizing. The idea of building a bridge from ‘isses’ to ‘oughts’ labors, as I demonstrate, from the outset under construction problems, which cannot be resolved on the premises from which Price seeks to operate. Concluding this part, I consider the possibility of supplementing Price’s account with consequentialist normative theory, and demonstrate that this would incur further problems for a normative theoretic framework for the study of world politics. In the final part, I outline key themes of Critical Theory with the aim of addressing some persistent misunderstandings about its scope, social theoretic outlook, and normative commitments. Linking back to the critical appraisal of mainstream constructivism’s norm-sociological commitments, I suggest that despite some important limitations of its own, Critical Theory is in a better position to address ‘isses’ and ‘oughts’ than constructivists’ readings of it would suggest.
International Relations has an ‘orthodox set’ of benchmark dates by which much of its research and teaching is organized: 1500, 1648, 1919, 1945 and 1989. This article argues that International Relations scholars need to question the ways in which these orthodox dates serve as internal and external points of reference, think more critically about how benchmark dates are established, and generate a revised set of benchmark dates that better reflects macro-historical international dynamics. The first part of the article questions the appropriateness of the orthodox set of benchmark dates as ways of framing the discipline’s self-understanding. The second and third sections look at what counts as a benchmark date, and why. We systematize benchmark dates drawn from mainstream International Relations theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism/English School and sociological approaches) and then aggregate their criteria. The fourth section of the article uses this exercise to construct a revised set of benchmark dates which can widen the discipline’s theoretical and historical scope. We outline a way of ranking benchmark dates and suggest a means of assessing recent candidates for benchmark status. Overall, the article delivers two main benefits: first, an improved heuristic by which to think critically about foundational dates in the discipline; and, second, a revised set of benchmark dates which can help shift International Relations’ centre of gravity away from dynamics of war and peace, and towards a broader range of macro-historical dynamics.
The growing sociology of International Relations literature systematically investigates the discipline’s organization and inner structuring. Making the academic field cognizant of its own institutional and intellectual configurations, the literature today empowers scholars to engage critically with the analytical, geocultural, and political lenses through which International Relations explains world politics. This contribution notwithstanding, there is a continuing focus in the literature on leading (flagship) publications as indicators of intellectual proclivities, and on International Relations scholars as their only relevant audiences. This article challenges this focus and expands the sociology of International Relations literature’s scope of analysis. Making the case for an inquiry into classroom socialization practices, it maps the paradigmatic, geocultural, gendered, and historical perspectives taught to students in the case of 23 American and European International Relations graduate programs. Pointing to differences between the instructed and the published discipline, the article shows how the instructed discipline is governed and constrained by different kinds of intellectual parochialisms. Problematizing the educative functions of these, it advocates a more self-reflexive understanding of International Relations teaching (a domain in which scholars have greater agency) and the enactment of a critical pedagogy of international studies.
This article is concerned with the ontology of political community, specifically the nation-state, as a bounded entity in time and space. Juxtaposed against the reading of it as an autonomous (realism) or permeated (liberalism) unit, or as constituted through Othering (social constructivism), the article conceptualizes the nation-state as a bounded community constituted by a biographical narrative which gives meaning to its collective spatio-temporal situatedness. Taking a phenomenological approach, the article offers a systematic discussion of the parameters of such a narrative. It highlights the relevance of an experienced space, giving meaning to the past, and an envisioned space, giving meaning to the future, delineated through horizons of experience and of possibility, respectively. In this reading, politics is found in the creative and contested attempts to link these dimensions to a coherent narrative on both the domestic and international level.
There is substantial evidence that International Monetary Fund policies are driven by the powerful states which intervene to align policy with their preferences. In particular, many have argued that the United States uses its position as the Fund’s largest shareholder to achieve its foreign policy objectives. As a result, a substantial volume of literature argues and presents evidence to support the claim that International Monetary Fund decisions faithfully reflect US interests. My findings extend these claims. Using a new dataset on the presence in International Monetary Fund agreements of binding conditions, which cause the agreement to be suspended or terminated if they are not met, I demonstrate that International Monetary Fund agreements contain fewer binding conditions when a suspension of International Monetary Fund lending plausibly would impose greater hardship on creditor country banks and exporters.
Though it is widely accepted that advancing women’s rights is crucial to promoting more economic prosperity, good governance, and social equality, very few studies have analyzed the gender-specific effects of foreign policy tools. In this study, we focus on the impact that a frequently used coercive tool — international economic sanctions — has on women’s well-being. Sanctions can have a devastating impact on both the target country’s economic and political stability, and women often suffer significantly from the effects of such external shocks due to their vulnerable socioeconomic and political status. We thus argue that foreign economic pressures will reduce the level of respect for women’s rights in the targeted countries. We use four different measures of women’s economic, political, and social status to analyze the gender-specific consequences of economic coercion. Results from the analysis for the period 1971–2005 indicate that sanctions are likely to exacerbate women’s rights. The data analysis also shows that the suggested negative impact of economic coercion on women’s well-being is conditioned by the wealth of a targeted country; women in poor countries are hit the hardest by economic sanctions.
Scholars have increasingly theorized, and debated, the decision by states to create and delegate authority to international courts, as well as the subsequent autonomy and behavior of those courts, with principal–agent and trusteeship models disagreeing on the nature and extent of states’ influence on international judges. This article formulates and tests a set of principal–agent hypotheses about the ways in which, and the conditions under which, member states are able use their powers of judicial nomination and appointment to influence the endogenous preferences of international judges. The empirical analysis surveys the record of all judicial appointments to the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) over a 15-year period. We present a view of an Appellate Body appointment process that, far from representing a pure search for expertise, is deeply politicized and offers member-state principals opportunities to influence Appellate Body members ex ante and possibly ex post. We further demonstrate that the Appellate Body nomination process has become progressively more politicized over time as member states, responding to earlier and controversial Appellate Body decisions, became far more concerned about judicial activism and more interested in the substantive opinions of Appellate Body candidates, systematically championing candidates whose views on key issues most closely approached their own, and opposing candidates perceived to be activist or biased against their substantive preferences. Although our empirical study is specific to the WTO, our theory and findings have implications for the judicial politics of a large variety of global and regional international courts and tribunals.
Jürgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action has provided the inspiration for a school of Critical International Relations Theory which looks to communication as a source of praxis, and therefore a means of emancipation. This article argues that Critical International Relations Theorists have been too ready to accept Habermas’s claims about the emancipatory power of communication. In particular, it is not clear that a Habermasian Critical International Relations Theory can address the concerns of more sophisticated materialists — not least those of Habermas’s predecessors in the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. One of the most original of these predecessors, Theodor Adorno, argued that the pursuit of communication between subjects would result in the betrayal of Critical Theory to the requirements of instrumental reason. The article suggests that similar concerns are apparent in International Relations: in Marxian criticisms of the turn to communication; in accusations of ‘anthropocentrism’ aimed at post-positivists by Critical Realists; and in Andrew Linklater’s emphasis on the common human capacity to experience and recognize bodily suffering. Adorno’s Critical Theory points to the need for a reorientation of Critical International Relations Theory towards an account of praxis which draws upon the experiences and needs of corporeal, vulnerable human beings who are part of a material world. In this way, critical International Relations theorists can carry forward the critique of global socio-political forces which the majority of the world’s inhabitants experience as an arbitrary constraint.
This article addresses the problem of interest representation in regional organizations. Departing from a theory-guided four-dimensional typology, the study explores how the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) responded to normative challenges of its system of interest representation. The findings suggest that ASEAN has skilfully countered external democracy promotion and domestic pressures for democratizing regional governance through variable strategies including rejection, isomorphic adaptation and localization. The multiple strategies employed by the grouping have largely kept intact its ‘cognitive prior’ which rests on a blending of imported European and older local organicist ideas. Given the resilience of this cognitive prior, the prospects for a wholesale liberal-pluralist transformation of ASEAN’s system of interest representation appear dim.
In The Tragic Vision of Politics (Lebow, 2003), Richard Ned Lebow argues that a ‘tragic understanding of the political’ provides the best ontological and epistemological foundations for a theory of International Relations. This article challenges that claim. It argues that other literary modes of representing social life can offer equally strong bases for international theories. To that end, it examines the ‘satirical vision of politics’ with reference to satirists as diverse as Aristophanes and Erasmus. It concludes that satire can provide just as good a form of political education as tragedy and just as robust a foundation for the kind of theory Lebow prefers.
While there is evidence that politics matter for international cooperation, the impact on economic integration of the quality of institutions has been given short shrift in the previous literature. I argue that the quality of institutions raises the quantity and the quality of information available to potential member states during the bargaining phase of a trade agreement. In turn, this inflow of information reduces the negotiation period of an agreement and, in doing so, dampens the transaction costs associated with it. As a result, countries with good institutions are more likely to form trade agreements. Using original data on both the formation of trade agreements and the duration of negotiations, I quantitatively test this argument. The results strongly support the claim that the quality of institutions is a crucial driver in explaining the recent wave of regionalism.
Existing literature in International Relations has firmly established that public justifications matter in world politics. They make it possible for a range of communities — nations, security communities, global advocacy networks and so on — to take political action. This article aims to improve on our understanding of how communities produce such justifications. It seeks to make conceptual and methodological contributions. On the conceptual level, I contend that political judgements generate public justifications and, vice versa, that these justifications shape future judgements. I outline a three-circuit map for studying the communicative processes that link judgements and justifications. On the methodological level, I argue that what I label a structured, focused communication analysis is well suited to put the three-circuit map to use to do empirical research. I tailor the structure and focus of such an analysis to the requirements of research on public justification.
This study relates the concept of recognition to processes of conflict transformation. The recognition concept has been underdeveloped in recent International Relations literature, where the main emphasis has been on interstate relations and on recognition as cause of conflict. This article challenges that understanding through the introduction of the concept of thick recognition. Thus an understanding of recognition which is applicable also in intrastate conflicts is developed. Through a strong emphasis on intrastate relations and identity politics, I develop thoughts on how narratives of war can be reversed through the introduction of narratives of recognition. The study thus provides theoretical concepts and distinctions that can be used as a framework for the study of thick recognition and its relationship to broader processes of conflict transformation. The theoretical framework is employed in a case study on the Israeli debates about ‘New History’. Insights from the case contribute to understandings of inhibiting and facilitating circumstances for the introduction of narratives of thick recognition in conflicted societies. The study ends with a discussion on the usefulness of the theoretical concepts for further work on recognition within the field of International Relations.
This article seeks to explain both the continuity and the changes in US grand strategy since the end of the Cold War by adopting a critical political economy approach that focuses on the social origins of grand strategy-making. Systematically seeking to link agency and structure, we analyse how grand strategy-makers operate within given social contexts, which we define in terms of, on the one hand, elite networks within which these actors are embedded, and, on the other hand, the international structural context in which the US is positioned. After reviewing the grand strategies as pursued by the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, and relating them to the structural context in which they evolved, we proceed by offering a Social Network Analysis in which we compare the networks of key officials of the three administrations in terms of: (1) their corporate affiliations, and (2) their affiliations to so-called policy-planning institutions. On this basis we argue that the continuities of post-Cold War US grand strategy — which we interpret as reproducing America’s long-standing ‘Open Door’ imperialism — can be explained in terms of the continuing dominance of the most transnationally oriented sections of US capital. Second, we show that, this continuity notwithstanding, there is significant variation in terms of the means by which this grand strategy is reproduced, and argue that we must explain these variations not only in terms of the continuously changing global context, but also as related to some significant differences in affiliation with the policy-planning network.
This article examines Ian Manners’ idea of a ‘normative power Europe’. While discussing moral and political forms of normative power, it calls particular attention to a sociological approach based on Weberian ideas about status and social closure. The article then compares the present-day ‘normative power’ of the EU with the earlier European ‘standard of civilization’, and argues that the contemporary EU’s normative power rests on a more individualist and credentialist form of social closure. This may make it less vulnerable to criticisms of imperialism, but may also make it harder for the EU to retain its relatively privileged position in the generation of international norms and a coherent sense of its own identity.
In anthropology, the concept of cultural intimacy expresses those aspects of a cultural identity that are considered a source of international criticism for the state, but are nevertheless used to provide insiders with a sense of national comfort, understanding, and self-reflexive, ontological security. Cultural intimacy helps illuminate how states present themselves internationally and how they understand themselves domestically. It can also explain the seeming discrepancies and contradictions between a state’s domestic and international identities. Cultural intimacy, in other words, explains the mutual reproduction of different levels of identity. Using the concept of cultural intimacy as a departure point, this article develops a framework for understanding incongruities in the domestic and international facades of state identity. We argue that there is a structural component to the level of discomfort caused by negative international appraisals of a given state. Structural position determines whether the domestic sources of cultural intimacy will cause shame, embarrassment, or guilt, and therefore also indicate how that negative international image will be handled by the state. The theoretical argument is illustrated with reference to the cases of Serbia, Croatia, and the Netherlands, and their distinctive responses to the Balkan conflict of the 1990s.
This article addresses one prominent expression of the interplay between politics and law in international cooperation: the dynamics of bargaining in the settling of compliance disputes. Our central argument is that the formal structure of dispute settlement systematically shapes the likelihood and terms of negotiated compliance settlements. We introduce an ideal type distinction between interstate dispute settlement, where the authority to sue states for non-compliance resides exclusively with states, and supranational dispute settlement, where this authority is partly or entirely delegated to a commission or secretariat with a prosecutorial function. We hypothesize that systems relying on supranational prosecution are more effective in addressing non-compliance, and more likely to mediate the impact of power asymmetries on dispute settlement outcomes, compared to systems relying on state-initiated complaints only. We find support for this proposition in an in-depth comparison of dispute settlement and compliance bargaining in the World Trade Organization and the European Union, and in a brief survey of experiences from other international organizations.
Transnational activism has increased in relation to international trade and development politics in the past decades, yet their power has been inadequately studied. This article analyses the STOP EPAs campaign (2004–2009) which aimed to influence the negotiations of Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It is analysed through a framework in which decisional and discursive power converge. It is argued that the campaign contributed to shaping the negotiations’ discursive practices and, thus, helped to frame what was possible in terms of decisions. It did so by both reproducing and challenging underlying assumptions of trade and development policies, fostering the inclusion of more voices and issues in debates, and shaping subjects’ identities. It was in the ‘play of practice’ that activism opened limited but important spaces for change, as observed in the discussions over what a pro-development World Trade Organization-compatible free trade agreement would entail.
There exists no consensus as to what indicates state satisfaction with the systemic status quo even though it has been a widely used concept in the empirical literature on conflict. This is surprising because satisfaction is not a new concept in International Relations and has been accorded a central role in many theories of war. In this article, we present a measure of satisfaction based on the cost of money for sovereign borrowers and compare that measure to several leading indicators of satisfaction. We find little correlation among the existing indicators and similar variation in their ability to predict conflict. Overall, our results suggest that the cost of money may serve as a useful indicator of satisfaction as it: (1) best predicts behaviors consistent with satisfied (dissatisfied) states; (2) is least likely to obscure the impact of other common independent variables; and (3) can also be included with measures of dyadic preferences in multivariate models of conflict
The notion of ‘reflexivity’ has been so intimately tied to the critique of positivism and empiricism in International Relations (IR) that the emergence of post-positivism has naturally produced the anticipation of a ‘reflexive turn’ in IR theory. Three decades after the launch of the post-positivist critique, however, reflexive IR has failed to impose itself as either a clear or serious contender to mainstream scholarship. Reasons for this failure include: the proliferation of different understandings of ‘reflexivity’ in IR theory that entail significantly different projects and concerns for IR scholarship; the equation of ‘reflexive theory’ with ‘critical’ and ‘emancipatory theory’ and the consequent confusion of ethical/normative issues with strictly epistemic/theoretical ones; and the refusal to consider reflexive IR as a ‘research programme’ concerned with empirical knowledge, not just meta-explanation. The development of reflexivity in IR theory as a sustainable cognitive and praxeological effort is nonetheless possible — and still needed. This article suggests what taking the ‘reflexive turn’ would really entail for IR.
How can democracy be suitably formulated in face of the more global character of contemporary society? Modern ideas and practices of ‘people’s rule’ (whether in a statist or a cosmopolitan mode) fall short as frameworks for global democracy. Statist approaches to global democracy have a host of behavioural, institutional, historical and cultural problems. Modern cosmopolitan approaches do better in addressing contemporary social changes, but are deficient in terms of their globalist tendencies, often oversimplified notions of political identity, limited cultural reflexivity, usually tame responses to resource inequalities and anthropocentrism. To address these shortcomings one might explore an alternative of ‘postmodern global democracies’ built around principles of transscalarity, plural solidarities, transculturality, egalitarian distribution and more ecologically framed ideas of political rights and duties.
In recent years, we have witnessed deliberative democracy take a ‘civil society turn’ to address the democratic deficit of global governance. In light of the present circumstances of world politics, it is argued that civil society offers a rich soil for reformulating democracy globally. This article engages in this debate with particular focus on democratic agency. It investigates the notion of democratic agency built into this deliberative civil society view with regard to its democratic qualities. This is done by problematizing a common feature underlying this view, here called the ‘separability premise’, which presumes that it is possible to define democracy as two or more separate core democratic qualities or mechanisms — most importantly, inclusive participation, accountability, authorization and deliberation — and that democracy increases the more one or more of these are strengthened. The article defends the thesis that the proposed political subject is not equipped to be a democratic agent insofar as the deliberative civil society view does not fulfil two basic requirements for an arrangement to qualify as minimally democratic, namely, political equality and political bindingness. The article concludes that insofar as we wish to hold on to a deliberative conception of democracy, something along the lines of Habermas’s two-track view is still our best bet for accommodating these two conditions, even in a transnational context, since it is able to avoid the problems connected with the separability premise.
This article will engage with the growing literature on the subject of trust in international politics by pointing out remaining problems and contradictions in recent critiques against the rationalist mainstream. Although it finds itself in agreement with these critiques it will argue that despite its more nuanced appreciation of trust, this critical scholarship does not quite succeed in either leaving the rationalist conceptions behind or in achieving a more substantial account of the concept of trust. In order to do so the article will first challenge the remaining methodological framework in which trust scholarship is couched. Second, the article will proceed to show how the emotive element in acts of trust can be highlighted when approached through a phronetic lens and how the introduction of emotion into trust scholarship in IR will allow a richer and thicker study of the phenomenon of trust in international politics. Centrally, the article will claim that any study of trust which ignores the elementary emotional component will remain incomplete.
Referring to the recent ‘visual turn’ in Critical Security Studies, the aim of this article is threefold. First, by taking the concept of visual securitization one step further, we intend to theorize the image as an iconic act understood as an act of showing and seeing. This turn to the performativity of the visual directs our attention to the securitizing power of images. Second, this article addresses the methodological challenges of analysing images and introduces an iconological approach. Iconology enables the systematic interpretation of images as images by also taking their social embeddedness into account. In the third part of this article we apply this theoretical and methodological framework to analyse a cover of the TIME magazine published in summer 2010. The cover shows a young Afghan woman whose ears and nose were cut off accompanied by the headline: ‘What happens if we leave Afghanistan’. This cover image not only provoked a heated debate in the USA about the (ab)use of images in order to legitimize the continuity of the war in Afghanistan, but shows how gender and the body are visually securitized.
The causes of World War I remain a topic of enormous intellectual interest. Yet, despite the immensity of the literature, historiographical and IR debates remain mired within unhelpful methodological dichotomies revolving around whether a ‘primacy of foreign policy’ versus ‘primacy of domestic politics’ or systemic versus unit-level approach best account for the war’s origins. Given that this historiography is the most prolific body of literature for any war within the modern age, it reveals a much deeper problem with the social sciences: how to coherently integrate ‘external’ and ‘internal’ relations into a synthesized theory of inter-state conflict and war. Drawing on and contributing to the theory of uneven and combined development, this article challenges standard interpretations of the war by distinctively uniting geopolitical and sociological modes of explanation into a single framework. In doing so, the article highlights how the necessarily variegated character of interactive socio-historical development explains the inter-state rivalries leading to war. Contextualizing the sources of conflict within the broad developmental tendencies of the Long 19th Century (1789–1914) and their particular articulation during the immediate pre-war juncture, the article seeks to provide significant contributions to recent debates in IR and historical sociology, as well as those concerning the relationship between history and IR theory.
Rape is a weapon of war. This now common claim reveals wartime sexual violence as a social act marked by gendered power. But this consensus also obscures important, and frequently unacknowledged, differences in ways of understanding and explaining it. This article opens these differences to analysis. It interprets feminist accounts of wartime sexual violence in terms of modes of critical explanation and differentiates three modes – of instrumentality, unreason and mythology – which implicitly structure different understandings of how rape might be a weapon of war. These modes shape political and ethical projects and so impact not only on questions of scholarly content but also on the ways in which we attempt to mitigate and abolish war rape. Exposing these disagreements opens up new possibilities for the analysis of war rape.
There is growing debate concerning the nature of causation in political science. In comparative politics and International Relations, scholars are divided by probabilistic, mechanistic, and conditions-based definitions of ‘cause.’ Moreover, post-positivist approaches to political science increasingly eschew causal analysis altogether. This article argues that the source of these divisions is methodological, not philosophical. Using the example of the Cuban missile crisis, a contrastive, counterfactual approach to causation, where a cause exists when the occurrence of one event rather than another leads to one event rather than another, meets the intuitions and the practice of political scientists engaged in different methodological approaches with different purposes. A contrastive, counterfactual account meets the intuitions of scholars engaged in quantitative and qualitative methods, and captures many of the intuitions guiding debates within qualitative and interpretive methods. By developing a common, unified approach to a key philosophical division, it is easier to identify the differences that matter.
When politically marginal ethnic groups have transnational ties to co-ethnics in civil conflicts, the countries in which the marginal groups reside are more likely to intervene. Marginal-to-marginal group ties and marginal-to-dominant group ties between a group in a third-party country and actors in civil conflict increase the likelihood of military intervention. Familiar forms of ethnic ties such as politically dominant-to-marginal group ties and dominant-to-dominant group ties are merely special cases of ethnic ties between any group in a third-party country and co-ethnics in civil conflict. The article also presents evidence suggesting that ethnic ties affect how intervening countries take sides. Interveners tend to favour the government in civil conflicts when marginal groups in both countries have ethnic ties. Likewise, ties between two dominant groups are associated with government-biased interventions. In contrast, intervening countries whose dominant group has ties to a marginal group in civil conflict tend to favour the opposition. Overall, the results testify to the importance of including politically marginal groups’ ethnic ties when explaining how third-party countries behave.
The ability to violate and the duty to protect human rights have traditionally been ascribed to states. Yet, since international organizations increasingly take decisions that directly affect individuals, it has been alleged that they, too, have human rights obligations. Against this background, we can witness a trend among international organizations establishing provisions to prevent human rights violations and to enable individuals to hold them accountable for such violations. This can be seen as a specific manifestation of a more general trend that has been described as the spread of good governance standards to, or the constitutionalization of, international organizations. The purpose of this article is to reveal the mechanisms that can account for the introduction of human rights protection provisions in international organizations. The empirical basis of the article forms a case study on the evolution of such provisions in United Nations sanctions policy. I first develop a conceptual framework that draws on diffusion mechanisms that have been used to explain the spread of norms and institutional design among states and to trace reform processes in international organizations. The empirical analysis suggests that shaming, defiance, litigation and instances of learning can account for the advancement of human rights protection provisions in United Nations sanctions policy: the Security Council was exposed to and responded to various forms of pressure from a variety of different actors. At the same time, it was approached with arguments concerning why it should institute reforms and advice in terms of how such reforms should look and engaged in a learning process.