IR

The Dilemma of Cosmopolitanism and State Sovereignty

The Dilemma of Cosmopolitanism and State Sovereignty

The international system, comprised as it is of a society of sovereign states, necessarily stands as a barrier to universal morality. The ideal of cosmopolitanism, envisioning humanity as a singular and unified moral community, is impossible in a world where the primary political unit is the state.

Should the (or a) Purpose of IR Theory be to Promote Better Futures?

Theory can never be detached from situational context. Far from even contemplating the possibility of bias-free analysis, I argue that any knowledge claim must always be inherently political in nature, capable of stimulating or withholding change in the social context in which the claimant is embedded. If this (admittedly divisive) assumption is correct, it seems the theorist, including the IR theorist, has two somewhat polar options. He can concentrate on and develop theory that ‘leads to analysis that is pro-status quo and amoral’, or alternatively he can concentrate on the critical evaluation of how we come to see a certain range of possibilities in the international arena.

The Fourth Pillar: Power as a Source of Legitimacy

Max Weber’s concept of legitimate authority rests on three principal pillars: tradition; legality; ideology. In this essay, I propose a fourth pillar – power, and show how it can be as important a source of legitimacy as tradition, legality, and ideology. In asserting that power itself can be politically legitimating, I do not imply that it is devoid of any support from the other three pillars.

Conceptualising Global Governance in International Relations

The questions of how the concept of global governance can be used to describe the prevailing global order and what is the most appropriate way of formulating the concept of global governance challenge the limits of traditional IR theory to explain a world where the shape and importance of individual states is changing and the role of agents above and below the state is increasing.

Is Global Capitalism Eroding the State?

This article is a response to the pervasive rhetoric that globalisation, in particular the associated implication that capitalism is an expanding global force that is inextricably enmeshed within globalisation, has been and continues to erode the state.

A Comparative Review of the Opportunities, Agendas and Performances of Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991) and Vladimir Putin (1999-)

The aim of this piece is not to provide a conclusive assessment, but to consider different aspects of Gorbachev and Putin’s leadership. In examining leader-type and surveying conditions, light is shed upon the significance of these individuals and upon the different purposes of leadership during their premierships.

Constructivism is Concerned with Norms, but is it Normative Theory?

Constructivism as an approach to International Political Theory is not a homogeneous or unified entity. More so than many other approaches it has great rifts between its individual theorists. This paper will focus mostly on the constructivism outlined by Wendt and, towards the end of of the paper, will briefly contrast it with that of Kratochwil.

How does Negri and Hardt’s Theory of the Limitations of Capitalist Subsumption of Production Differ from that of Žižek’s Theory?

This essay is a critical reading of Negri and Hardt’s ‘Empire’, focusing on how the ontological shifts in the production and socio-political disciplinarity function not as an immanent contradiction of globalised capital, but instead form a reified, zero-weight mode of infinite subsumption.

Understanding Russia’s Post-Cold War Foreign Policy Towards the EU and USA

Since the end of the Cold War, the policies followed by Russia towards the United States and the European Union have defied simple analysis. In the decade and a half since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has at times appeared an ally and at times has been much more hostile.

Contesting Neo-Realism and Liberal Idealism; Where do Hopes for a ‘Perpetual Peace’ Lie?

War has been an omnipresent aspect of the international order. Consequently, ‘realism’ sees conflict and war as the defining aspects of international relations. Conversely, ‘idealists’ posit that human reason/different forms of societal organization can curb or even eliminate belligerency. This essay draws on ‘critical theory’ to show that realism is essentially limited in its analysis of the world system.

Evaluating the Potential of Public-Private Partnerships in Global Governance

This essay deals with a central question regarding the value of Public-Private Partnerships: what governance functions can they accomplish that neither public nor private authority can accomplish independently? The question boils down to two subsidiary questions, which will be dealt with in turn: (1) What governance functions cannot be accomplished unilaterally by public actors on the one hand and private actors on the other? (2) How can PPPs overcome these governance problems?

Hobbes, Locke and the State of Nature

John Locke and Thomas Hobbes have submitted competing versions of the state of nature in Two Treatises of Government and Leviathan respectively, and they arrive at very different conclusions. An evaluation of their conception of pre-societal man accounts in large part for the divergence in their views on what form a Commonwealth should assume and what powers it should be endowed with.