This essay will first highlight the normative theoretical framework present within International Relations’ dominant realist and neo liberal discourse, before identifing key areas in which gender theorists have sought to challenge these hegemonic assumptions. It will assert that whilst there is an increasing willingness to challenge the traditional norms, there has been no revolution of inclusiveness.
The belief that we can teleologically strive towards dissolving all societies’ ills has been diverted to a quest to live in a world of tolerable risks. Furthermore, Ulrich Beck’s thesis that we live in a risk society has now been transposed into a world of globalisation. Where we used to deter dangers and threats, we now perpetually manage strategic risks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.