The English School World Society Debate: A Forum Article

This is a forum article containing contributions by Jacinta O’Hagan, John Williams, Cornelia Navari, Matthew S. Weinert, Filippo Costa Buranelli, Dimitrios Stroikos, Thomas Linsenmaier, Barry Buzan.

Bringing conceptual clarity to the English School concept of a world society was a major agenda item and justification of Barry Buzan’s proposal to reconvene the English School.[i] As the English School has developed over the past two decades, its world society concept has been the subject of persistent debate concerning the significance and nature of the political world beyond the society of states. To reassess and advance this ongoing debate, the special issue, ‘Conceptualizing World Society’ was convened and published in International Politics. The special issue collected contributions from Cornelia Navari, Matthew S. Weinert, A.C. McKeil, Filippo Costa Buranelli, Dimitrios Stroikos, Thomas Linsenmaier, and Yannis Stivachtis, with Barry Buzan providing a revisiting of world society as a response to the special issue as a whole. The special issue makes a number of key conceptual distinctions and advances a number of empirical findings.

In light of the complexity and the breadth of these conceptual and empirical advances, this forum article is convened here in e-International Relations, to complement the special issue. This forum article aims to cement the special issue by bringing an added layer of reflection to the number of conceptual distinctions and empirical contributions it develops. In this forum article, Jacinta O’Hagan and John Williams provide invited commentaries on the special issue and the contributors to the special issue were asked to provide reflections on their contributions in respect to the special issue. Lastly, Barry Buzan provides a final re-visiting of his response to the special issue. 

The commentaries and discussions in this forum article suggest a consensus: the political world beyond society of states plays a significant role in world politics and as such world society remains squarely on the agenda of the English School. This forum article also suggests the English School world society debate is far from settled, containing more focused but nonetheless persistent contentions. These contentions include, chiefly but not exclusively, the fundamental institutions of world society, the status of normative world society, the major actors and role of regions in world society, as well as the conditions, processes, form, and historical character of a sociological transformation from international to world society.

This forum article proceeds first with invited commentaries from Jacinta O’Hagan and John Williams, followed by reflections on the special issue by its contributors. The forum article concludes with Buzan’s revisiting of his ‘Revisiting World Society’. 

Jacinta O’Hagan

The principal objective of this special issue is to probe the concept of world society, a concept that is generating renewed interest in English School thought. The problem of how to define world society is one that concerns each of the contributors. However taken as a whole the collection is less about providing the definitive meaning of this concept than about how the concept can contribute to our understanding of world politics, be that as a normative aspiration, a shared social space, a network of actors and institutions, or as forms of political community. The collection therefore becomes a rich conversation about issues ranging across agency and structure, power and norms, legitimacy and institutions; and – importantly – with processes of constitution and of transformation.

All of the contributors observe the lack of specificity in the definition of world society but there is a consensus that it refers to a realm of agency beyond the state, be that cast broadly as a society of mankind or the network of non-state actors that permeates world politics. But how, as McKeil asks, do we conceptualize this realm? These actors are not necessarily seen as independent of the state or the states system; in fact the interaction between world society and the society of states is a core concern of all contributors. Where the contributors do vary is how they position themselves in the debate on understanding world society as a normative domain, animated by a foundational cosmopolitan conception of a community of humankind, or a more sociological conception of world society constituted by networks of non-states actors, which provide services, act as sites of advocacy, and seek to influence the society of states. An interesting question is the degree to which these conceptions of world society are mutually exclusive or interconnected? Buzan seeks to draw elements of this discussion together by reiterating his distinction between normative world society as a realm in which primary institutions are lodged, whilst the political world society comprises actors and institutions that actively purse and operationalize these primary institutions. To an extent this resonates with Weinert’s argument that shared normative and cognitive dispositions consciously aim to (re)produce integrative systems in the particular ‘worldly domains’ (p. 29). This suggests that rather than envisaging world society as either a normative or political realm, we should understand the concept as multi-faceted or even multilayered. However it also suggests that whilst normative world society may be a prerequisite for the political world society the opposite may not be the case (i.e. the social networks and structures may not be present or sufficiently robust or powerful to mobilize the primary institutions of world society).

A second key theme that animates a number of the contributions is how we define the scope of world society, specifically is world society necessarily a global realm? For a number of contributors, world society can also exist at a sub-global level, such as at the regional level (Linsenmaier, Buranelli, Stivachtis. See also Buzan and McKeil). Perceptions of common cultures – religion, language, histories, ethnicities generate a sense of collective, transnational identity that help to locate actors in a broader imagined community (regional world society) that can be mobilized in political practices. Linsenmaier makes a useful distinction here between ‘world society’ and ‘world’ society. Here ‘world’ refers to ‘large scale’ forms of human organization that have ‘self–contained’ qualities.  This resonates with Immanuel Wallerstein’s conception of ‘world systems’, which are also not necessarily global in scale. However the idea of regional world societies raises of the question of what differentiates a ‘world’ society from other ways in which we imagine political community at the sub-global level, such as through concepts such as regionalism, or transnational or ‘Pan’ identities? In other words, what ‘work’ does world society do that is not already being done by other concepts of political community?

The same question might also be asked at the global level: what work does world society do that is not currently being done by, for instance, globalization, civilization or transnational civil society? To me part of the answer is ontological; that is the idea of ‘world’ society provides us not only with idea of shared identities, values or a more encompassing conception of agency but that it is associated with a particular worldview. This then prompts an important question that is particularly relevant at the global level: to what extent is world society necessarily understood as a manifestation of a particular worldview; that is of a liberal cosmopolitan world view linked with conceptions of modernity and progress? Can world society be constituted by alternative worldviews premised on different ontologies, relational and normative structures and configurations of agency? Here McKeil’s observation of the importance of historical context is important.  It suggests that world society provides a potentially useful framework for analyzing the evolution of world politics across different historical and cultural locations. This could help us escape rather than become further bound to a Western-centric reading of world politics. It allows us to ask questions about if and how alternative and even contending ‘world’ societies coexist?  In this context, world society may provide us with a valuable lens to examine not only contending conceptions of world order in the past but vying structures of agency and fundamental institutions animated by different world views in contemporary world politics. 

John Williams

Reading the papers in this Special Issue clearly reiterates the dynamism of the world society debates within contemporary ES theory and the commitment to the centrality of the concept to the School’s future. Getting beyond the idea of world society as a ‘residual’ or ‘dustbin’ concept where things ES theorists wish to set to one side reside animates all the contributors, although in very different ways.

The diversity of research agendas in these papers reflects the recognised incoherence of the world society concept itself as it stood in the mid-2000s. The authors here are pursuing issues including: basic methodological debates about how to go about framing, understanding and developing the concept and its relationship to wider elements of the ES framework, typically building on Buzan’s work as the baseline for this, which acknowledges the foundational work he has done here, and the need to move beyond the very limited engagement with world society found in previous theorists, such as Bull and Wight. Here, interactions with wider sociological approaches to understanding the institutions of the global are especially important (Navari, McKeil), and also specific manifestations of sociologically significant phenomena conceptualised at non-state levels (Weinert and global heritage, Buranelli and Central Asia, Linsenmaier and ‘identity’ as a critical issue for understanding basic dynamics between state and non-state political forms at the sub-global (but still ‘world’) level, Stroikos and the humanity unification ambitions of ideas of the ‘space age’ ) in the face of statist counter-forces. These papers contribute to the increasingly commonplace assumption that the English school offers the ‘best developed sociological conception of IR’ (Krasner in Buzan, 2004: 11), and that it is the society element of ES thinking that is the major differentiating factor that it ought to build on and refine in relation to alternative macro-scale approaches to understanding world politics, such as a variety of Realisms and Liberalism. These papers extend a position of significant comparative advantage in relation to more statist approaches, or those with more restricted and inflexible accounts of social structures. As well as their sociological benefits, key papers reiterate the benefits of an ES approach via its historical awareness (Stivachtis and Stroikos) and the ability to offer a perspective that benefits from interdisciplinary analysis. The gap in the collection is a neglect of the legal perspective – an important leg of the ‘classical’ ES methodological stool, alongside history and philosophy, and one that is unrepresented by a paper explicitly focused on the legal dimensions of world society.

The eclecticism of papers is also indicative of how far the process of theorising world society still has to go in working out the core focus and contribution of the concept within the ES schema. For example, papers bring out questions including whether or not world society is: predominantly best understood as normative, institutional, or sociological; singular or multiple; stable or protean; cosmopolitan or pluralist; universal, regional or local? Here the papers are making advances on multiple fronts, but with less sense of a strategy, other, perhaps, than an eclecticism that offers the inherent opportunity of progress and resolution. Costs of such eclecticism are not inconsiderable if a theoretical project is usually understood as something displaying commonalities in basic research agendas, methodologies and relationships to the empirical realm.

Similarly, the engagement of scholars in these papers with the contemporary priorities of those charged with exercising political leadership – Jackson’s (2000) ‘statespeople’ – and reflecting the theoretical impact of the personal experiences of scholars such as Watson, Bull and Manning who were practicing diplomats at points in their careers – seems weak. How does the concept of world society contribute to the practice-orientation of ES theory, for example by contributing to an activist and engaged ideal-type of ES theorist, utilising their scholarship to advocate for changes in political practice? Buzan’s paper points towards advocacy as a primary institution of world society. In doing so, it offers an exciting initiative, but one that is, characteristically, focused on the empirical dimensions of advocacy as political practice by civil society organisations. A larger initiative involves the potential intellectual obligations of the ES theorist and the collection of scholars who see the ES as a valuable way to enhance understanding of the processes creating world society, and to contribute to those processes, too, in progressive ways.

Cornelia Navari: Two Roads to World Society’ 

These papers are working at different levels of analysis, some with different methods, some even with different theories, but they are together producing a cohering picture of world society as a political and social reality. I am first struck by Stivachtis’ account of the philhellenic movement as a ‘global’ (European) identity in Buzan’s terms interacting with a state-power Concert, a clear gemeinschaft/gesellschaft (in Buzan’s usage) interaction. Stroikos’ picture of a 20th century version, in the form of an international scientific brotherhood in service to state competition, compliments it exactly. Both Costa-Buranelli and Linsenmaier demonstrate the limits of global ‘gemeinschafting’, each exposing the dynamics of regional social identities, which however do not replace local social identities, and which are both quite contingent, confirming Buzan’s thesis in his 2010 paper, ‘Gobalization and Identity’. What is missing among all of them is a clearer idea of the foundation institutions and norms underpinning a world society. So far, it seems to be liberal internationalism and liberal states, strongly hinted at by McKeil. 

Matthew S. Weinert: Negotiating World Society, ‘Reading World Society Phenomenologically’ 

No doubt the multiple usages of world society, coupled with its largely aspirational or ‘unfinished’ character, have contributed to its conceptual underdevelopment relative to its sister English School concept of international society. Yet (dis)integrative processes in world politics arguably have spawned a growing awareness of the world as a composite of shared social spaces, and with it a burgeoning literature that seeks to capture the breadth and depth of transformations that such developments both produce and reflect.

But world society isn’t merely an adjunct of globalizing forces; it is an intentional construct, according to early English School writers. The resultant research agenda that seems to stem from this account—identify key agents and their stated objectives, the cognitive scripts they generate, and the institutions and associations created to nurture and propagate visions for alternative political orders and arrangements—could bind together the various strands of world society scholarship.

It seems to me, however, that this agenda remains largely elite driven. What are we to make of populism—both its left and right variants? Dissatisfaction with existing structures of governance and subsequent electoral upsets might be classified as Revolutionist phenomenon which harbors the potential to revise, radically, the (solidarist) content, institutions, and processes usually attributed to world society as voting preferences are translated into policy. Ostensibly read as rejections of all that world society represents, ‘populist backlashes’ posit alternative (often pluralist) visions of, and principles to ground, political futures. Our research might explore the nexus between this sort of empirical, voter-based Revolutionism and our conceptual sketches of world society to further underscore that the development of world society is a practical affair conducted on the contested, negotiated, agonistic, and occasionally antagonistic terrain between competing ideals and visions. 

Aaron McKeil: ‘A Silhouette of Utopia’

In my special issue contribution, ‘A Silhouette of Utopia’, I aimed to clarify English School as well as constructivist conceptions of a world society. To do so, I needed to clarify the different usages of the term “world society”, particularly in the English School. As this forum article and the special issue reflect, the world society language is used in multiple ways. First, I found the English School often uses the language of a “world society” to mean a normative unity of humankind. I argued that early English School thinkers did not ascribe to the normative sense of a world society. I also questioned its normative basis and suggested that it remains a persistent normative question that constructivist genealogies can illuminate. Second, I found the English School’s categorical references to the political world beyond the society of states as “world society” to be problematic, because the political world beyond the society of states is indeed social, but not evidently a society, and is already partly expressed in Bull’s often overlooked term “world system”.[ii] Third, I found world society is often used to mean a sociological transformation of international society. I suggested this usage is still under-clarified and debated, despite Buzan’s helpful contributions. I suggested that the English School and Constructivism provide important insights to this conception of a world society, but also argued that the historical contents and social form of a transformative world society remain elusive.

The special issue helps bring a degree of order to the three different usages of the world society language in the English School. Reflecting on the special issue as a whole, it highlights the different directions the concept of a world society is taken in the English School. Nonetheless, helpful conceptual and empirical advances are made, focusing the English School understanding of the political world beyond international society. Still, some issues seem to arise from it and questions persist. The language of “regional world societies”, arising in the special issue, is perhaps unhelpful, because “regional societies”, or, perhaps, “trans-national regional societies”, seems more sensible terminologically. The idea, however, of a regional collective identity beyond states, as advanced in the special issue and this forum article, is a helpful addition to English School theory, and is not without empirical support. Furthermore, at least two questions persist. First, the historical contents of a future transformative world society remain unclear and debated. Second, the conditions and contributing processes of the emergence of such a sociologically transformative world society still remain murky and debated.

Filippo Costa Buranelli: ‘World Society as a Shared Ethnos’ 

In my article ‘World Society as a Shared Ethnos and the Limits of World Society in Central Asia’ I wanted to explore the role that culture, identity, and history play in the formation and sustainment of a world society of individuals linked by traditions, language, festivities, blood-ties, and historical memories in a specific regional context, that of Central Asia. The reason to do this was twofold. On the one hand, I wanted to apply a ‘Wightian’ reading of the English School, thus one focusing on cultural uniformity and a shared historical and civilizational identity, onto the still underexplored domain, at least from an English School perspective, of Central Asia. On the other hand, I also sought to ‘test’ one of the propositions made by Barry Buzan in his theorization of regional international societies. According to this proposition, regional international societies may well be more cohesive ‘thicker’ than global international society by virtue of norms and institutions that can be indigenous and anti-Western in character, and also by virtue of more cohesive communities of human beings linked by common traditions and customs (‘regional’ world societies). Yet, the case of Central Asia as dealt with in my article shows that this is not always the case, and that ‘regional’ world societies should always be studied within the institutional framework of the inter-state regional society they belong to. This led me to theorize about the ‘hyper-institutionalization’ of some practices of inter-state society, such as sovereignty and borders, which may well hinder and indeed suppress the development of a common culture and identity at the level of world society.

Dimitrios Stroikos: Bringing Scientists Into International Society, ‘Engineering World Society?’

Focusing on the history and origins of the Space Age, my contribution to the special issue examines the role of scientists and engineers as agents of both international society and world society and assesses the significance of scientific internationalism and its impact on engineering the advent of space exploration. The argument of the article is twofold. The first contention is that it is necessary to pay attention to scientific internationalism as an expression of world society in a historical and comparative perspective. Secondly, however, the article argues that scientists can also be seen as agents of international society, who simultaneously act on behalf of the state, especially given the ways in which the state has appropriated scientific internationalism during the Cold War and afterwards. Consequently, the article offers an empirical contribution to the literature that deals with how international society relates to world society. It does so by considering two key events that led to the arrival of the Space Age: the spaceflight movement of the 1920s and 1930s and the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY). It concludes by highlighting the need for further research on the importance of scientists through the English School lens as a first step towards bringing science and technology into the debate on the interplay between international society and world society. 

Thomas Linsenmaier: Reflecting on ‘World society as Collective Identity’

“World society as Collective Identity” explores some of the implications that follow from Buzan’s re-casting of the concept of world society in From International to World Society?. In my contribution, I engage with two conceptual moves in particular: reading world society as an analytical concept and the problematization of scale, of the scale of both international and world society. Together, these moves open up the possibility of thinking less-than-universal ‘world’ society, what I refer to as ‘really existing’ world society, which leads to the argument for understanding world society as collective identity. One of the most interesting aspects of less-than-universal ‘world’ society is, in my view, the analytical grip it provides on dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in international society. However, the exclusionary logic of particularist ‘world’ societies also exposes the limitations of reading world society as merely an analytical concept void of any normative content. Identity is always wound up with identity politics. It is never normatively neutral. And neither is world society if understood as constituted by collective identity. In this way, thinking world society as collective identity highlights also the costs of reading world society as an analytical concept, namely English School theorizing losing its critical edge. Glimpsing through discussions of world society is another much-needed conversation, one about the place of normative theorizing in current English School scholarship.

Yannis Stivachtis: ‘International Society’ versus ‘World Society’

Focusing on the organization and operations of the Philhellenist movement during the Greek War of Independence has led me to arrive to the following conclusions: First, in terms of membership, I consider world society as composed by individuals, groups, transnational movements and other non-state actors. This corresponds with the traditional English School usage of the term. In my International Politics article, I view Philhellenism as an inter/transnational movement that reflected the existence of a European world society. Second, my article has suggested that world society comes into existence when its members who share common interests and common values organize themselves in order to collectively respond to a particular international issue. Yet, the issue in question should be broad enough to attract the attention of individuals, groups or movements on an inter/transnational scale. I have argued that Philhellenism, which represented a European world society, came into existence when people throughout Europe who shared common interests and common values participated in common, inter/transnational activities in the pursuit of a common cause: to defend the Greek cause as a way to “defend Christianity” and “preserve European civilization”.

Third, I agree with Barry Buzan on the point that world society has the capacity and interest to engage with international society to influence its normative values and institutions. To this I would add that world society may attempt to provide an alternative interpretation of a norm or institution rather than reject them from the outset. My International Politics article has sought to demonstrate that in its pursuit of a common cause or goal, world society can politically engage with international society in an effort to influence its policies on a particular issue or set of issues. Therefore, world society and international society not only can co-exist and but they can also interact with one another. The case of the Greek War of Independence shows how European world society engaged with European international society and how the Greek revolt against the Ottoman Empire created a tension between the two. The institution of sovereignty and the norm of non-intervention were strengthened as a result of the 1815 Congress of Vienna, which established the post-Napoleonic European order. However, between 1821 and 1832, the Greek War of Independence challenged the post-Vienna European order not only by bringing the rival interests of the great powers into the open but, most importantly, by challenging the institution of sovereignty and the norm of non-intervention. The Philhellenist movement made the case that the Greek revolt was not only different than the other social revolutions that took place in Europe following the Congress of Vienna but also that the Ottoman sovereignty should be breached since the intervention of European powers was necessary to save the Greeks, “defend Christianity” and “preserve European civilization” from the “Ottoman barbarism”. Moreover, European world society played a major role in the final outcome of the Greek War of Independence. Not only did European world society provide the means for the Greeks to pursue their cause but kept the hope of independence alive even at times when the Greek revolt appeared to be dead. Moreover, European world society performed an additional function: that of serving as an additional factor in the calculations of European powers. Therefore, the political, socio-cultural, religious, and economic interaction between the Greeks and the Europeans preceding the Greek revolt in conjunction with the Greek efforts to adopt European practices during the Greek War of Independence played a major role in shaping European public opinion during the Greek revolt. In return, European world society exercised considerable influence over the decisions and actions of the governments of the European powers.

Fourth, I agree with Ray Hinnebusch and Barry Buzan that world society may take both civil and uncivil forms. Most certainly, the Greek revolt against the Ottoman Empire represented a violent effort to challenge Ottoman sovereignty but what is worth highlighting here is the decision of thousands of European people to take up arms, travel to Greece and fight the Ottomans in total disregard of the threats of their governments and the principle of Ottoman sovereignty.  Fifth, I agree with Barry Buzan that advocacy is the primary institution of world society. Philhellenism, as a transnational European movement clearly advocated the need to defend the Greek cause as a way to “defend Christianity” and “preserve European civilization”. Sixth, my article sought to demonstrate that world society has been present and active for quite some time and it is not the product of recent developments taking place within the global international society. In this sense, my paper has validated what Ian Clark’s work first demonstrated. Finally, my International Politics article intended to show that as in the case of international society, which can be global as well as subglobal/regional, world society can also be subglobal/regional.

Barry Buzan: Revisiting ‘Revisiting World Society’

In a recent conversation about my article ‘Revisiting World Society’, Ray Hinnebusch pointed out that my discussion of political world society, and the idea that its primary institution is advocacy, was far too much focused on global civil society. He argued that political world society needed also to take into account global uncivil society, that which resists or wants to overthrow, violently if necessary, some or all of the institutions of global international society (GIS). It is a good point, and I will try to reply to it here.

I defined political world society as comprising ‘all the non-state social structures visible within humankind as a whole that have both significantly autonomous actor quality, and the capacity and interest to engage with the society of states to influence its normative values and institutions’. That definition is compatible with both civil and uncivil actors, and with both advocacy and resistance, so I will stick with it. Ray rightly pointed out that revolutionism has a long tradition as part of English School thinking. In my enthusiasm to develop the idea of legitimate advocacy, I lost sight of the resistance/revolution side of the equation.

If one starts to factor global uncivil society actors into political world society, the first thing that becomes apparent is that, as with global civil society, large numbers of non-state actors get left out. Political world society is about non-state actors that want to influence the normative structure of GIS. There are many global civil society actors such as sporting bodies, that have little or no interest in engaging with GIS in this way other than that they be allowed to pursue and organize their interest. The same is true for uncivil global society actors such as transnational criminal organizations. They don’t seek to make criminal activities legitimate as such, and while they are rule-breakers, they don’t aim to get the rules changed at the level of GIS.

Uncivil society actors that want to challenge the norms and rules of GIS may not be all that different in their objects from civil society actors. Both draw on the ideational resources of normative world society, and may do so to pursue similar types of claim based on nationalism, or religion or indeed humankind as a whole. They may also both address contradictions within GIS, such as the preference for adhering to existing political boundaries on the one hand, versus the general legitimacy of claims to national self-determination on the other – for example Kurdish claims for a state. The key difference between them is to do with methods, not aims. Global civil society actors pursue change using peaceful methods of advocacy within the existing structures of GIS. Uncivil society actors pursue change using violent methods. That said, of course, some highly revolutionary uncivil actors might be aiming to overthrow GIS as a whole, which is rarely the case for civil society ones.

If, as I argued, ‘the actors in a society must be constituted by, and have their legitimate behaviour shaped by, primary institutions’, how does this work for uncivil society actors? They certainly do not qualify under the rule that organised advocacy legitimates them in the same way that it does for civil society actors. Revolutionism is by definition aimed at overthrowing the system. Yet paradoxically it is also the case that revolutionism has some legitimacy within GIS. France, the US, Cuba, the Soviet Union, China, Iran and others have revolutionary origins as part of their claim to legitimacy as modern states. Trickiest to handle are those uncivil actors wanting to challenge and replace the package of institutions that define the modern state – sovereignty, nationalism and territoriality – with something else. What this something else may be is not necessarily all that clear. The challenge of actors such as Hizbollah, Islamic State and Al Qaeda is clearest in wanting to replace nationalism by religion, perhaps with territoriality and sovereignty somehow adapting around that.

The simplest way to handle this would be to stick with advocacy as the primary institution for political world society, but distinguish within it between peaceful and violent methods. Violent methods do have some legitimacy with GIS, but perhaps mainly post-hoc, after the resistance or revolution has been successful.

This is a bigger question than I can resolve here, but I hope at least to have put the issue on the table. Thanks again to Ray for raising it.


[i] Barry Buzan, ‘The English School: An Underexploited Resources in IR’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), pp. 471-488.

[ii] See, Hidemi Suganami, ‘Bull and the Anarchical Society Now at 40’, in Suganami, Carr, and Humphreys (eds.) The Anarchical Society at 40 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 3-22.


Jacinta O’Hagan is Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Centre in Governance and International Affairs in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. A former diplomat with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Jacinta O’Hagan has held prior appointments at the Australian National University and held visiting fellowships and affiliations at the University of Southern California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the European University Institute.

John Williams is a Professor and Head of School in the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University. His research in recent years has revolved around three, interconnected issues: the English school of international relations theory; the wider area of international political theory, where he has concentrated on ethical dimensions of issues such as territory, space and political violence; the area of the Just War tradition, where his work has looked at the challenges to standard accounts of the ethics of war presented by changing patterns and technologies of violence and the issue of democratic authority over warfare.

Cornelia Navari began her career in the US State Department as a broadcaster and feature writer for the US Information Agency. She joined the University of Birmingham in 1972 where she designed the graduate professional programmes in International Studies. She currently heads the English School section of the International Studies Association and has edited the Guide to the English School in International Studies(Wiley Blackwell, 2014). Her current research is into international regulatory regimes and involves several linked projects covering regime development.

Matthew S. Weinert is Associate Professor at the University of Delaware. Professor Weinert works in English School theory and normative international political theory. In particular, he is interested the development of architectures of (global) governance that emerge at the intersection of state interests and human well-being, and has published with respect to R2P, human security, human rights, and the emergence of an operative conception of ‘humanity’ in world politics.

Filippo Costa Buranelli is a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. His current research agenda is strongly interdisciplinary, combining his expertise on IR theory, regionalism (with a focus on Central Asia), global governance and international security.

Dimitrios Stroikos is Associate Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the Department of Politics at the University of York. His research interests cover the international relations of the Asia-Pacific and Asian security, with particular reference to China and India; theories of International Relations; technology and global governance; and space security and space policy.

Thomas Linsenmaier is a PhD student at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu. His main research interests revolve around International Relations theory, particularly the English School tradition, and issues related to European integration.

Barry Buzan is a Professor at the London School of Economics. His principal current research focus is on the English school approach to the study of international relations. This involves theoretical work on the concepts international society, world society, pluralism, solidarism, institutions, and the application of these ideas to understanding the international system, both contemporary and historical. He also maintains his interest in international security, both conceptual, and regional security.

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